Tag Archives: scouts

Weekend Coffee Share… 8th April, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Tonight, I made a batch of Chocolate & Raspberry Muffins, made with almond meal and coconut sugar. They were scrumptious with dark chocolate overtones, with a blast of raspberry. Yum! Would you like to try one? Then, you’d better be quick. The mix only yielded only cupcakes and next time, I’ll make a double batch. We ate ours straight out of the oven.

So, how was your week? Have you been taking part in the Blogging A-Z April Challenge? I have. My theme this year, is writing Letters to Dead Artists. So far, I’ve written to Botticelli, Grace Cossington Smith,Edgar Degas, Eileen Agar, Frederick McCubbin and Vincent Van Gogh.

Today, I posted a  Weekly Round-up Letters to Dead Artists A-Z Challenge

Although I’ve been very focused on researching and writing for the challenge, the usual realities of family life ensure I’m on my feet. It’s good for me really, because going through all this research can get very intense. I don’t want to join any of these artists in the asylum.

Yesterday, we had a busy day. It was open day at the dance studio and so I spent a few hours watching my daughter and the other students performing their solos as well as a preview of the piece for the mid-year production. As always, I loved watching the performances and was dazzled seeing Miss all decked out in her tutu again. After focusing on Van Gogh’s Starry Night intensly for much of the last week, I couldn’t help noticed the emotive swirls in some of the solos. There’s definitely an intensity there, something with connects with a part of me which usually doesn’t see the light of day. These days, being a mild -mannered mum provides good camouflage. Of course, I’ve got it together!

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After dancing, it was off to the Scout & Guides Gang Show Camp. It’s held in the bush about 30 minutes drive away and then it’s about a 15 minutes walk through the bush to reach the camp site. This provided an easy bushwalking opportunity for me, where the track is well-maintained and an easy stroll. It felt like such a treat to go bush and after writing about Australian artist Frederick McCubbin and , I felt like I was walking through his work On the Wallaby Track. There was the familiar scent of eucalyptus through the air and even after all these years, scribbly gums haven’t lost their magic. They still look like fairies or bush folk have left little messages to each other through the bush. As we walked back to the car, the sun started setting, bathing the trees in golden light. Where was my easel?

During the last week, I caught up with my physiotherapist and I’ve been told. Get back into my exercise routine. Just to prove the point, after we went walking my cough eased. The walking is clearly good for me. So, in addition to yesterday’s bush walk, I’ve been on a few walks with the dogs to the beach..one with all three dogs and today, it was just Rosie who has submitted to the Halti collar and now agrees to sensible walking and unlike Lady, doesn’t stop every metre or so for sniffing and watering duties. Lady doesn’t do a lot to boost your heart rate.

It’s now Autumn here but we’re still enjoying bright blue skies and sunny days. Indeed, it’s still what I deem “hot”. It was 26°C today and it’s threatening 31°C tomorrow. It lulls us into a false sense of security that Summer will never end.

Anyway, that about sums up last week. How was your week? I hope it’s been great.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Alli.. Can’t believe I’ve actually completed and beamed up my post before the weekend’s done and dusted and we’re well into Monday.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share – 18th February, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s no longer the weekend here and it’s almost bedtime Monday night. However, we’re a global community so I decided to latch onto someone else’s time zone. How about it American Samoa? It’s just gone midnight over there.

So how was your week? What about your weekend or even the start of the week? I hope things are going well for you.

The last week feels like a blur, but I’m sure I did something. Went somewhere.

Love

That’s right. Wednesday was Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day isn’t a huge thing in Australia, especially once you’ve been married for awhile. That said, my husband brought me some chocolates and flowers and I gave him a non-Valentine’s Day themed book, which was actually about stretcher bearers in WWI and WWII. While the bookseller showed me a rather of books on the philosophy of love, those clearly looked like for myself. Mind you, when I spotted a book about the notorious prison, Pentridge, I thought I’d made a good choice. Imagine giving that to your better half as a gift? Being married to you is a prison sentence. Even if it is, that would certainly dampen the Valentine’s Day spirit.

If you joined me last week, you might recall that my application for an electric recliner was knocked back by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) after a 10 month wait because I can walk.

Well, the good news is that I’ve managed to pick up an electric recliner chair for nothing and am now able to raise and lower my legs and dear self out of my chair without contorting myself. A friend of mine found out about it on a site called Free Cycle and it was just around the corner and the people very kindly dropped it off for me. How good was that! Faith in community…100%. Faith in NDIS…? Think I might be diplomatic and not give them a score. Anyway, although this chair is 13 years old and onto its third owner, it’s brought me great relief.

On Saturday, I extended myself well beyond my comfort zone when I volunteered for the scout sausage sizzle at our local Bunnings Hardware Store. Well, that’s if you can call it volunteering. Both of our kids are going to Jamboree next January and the fundraising has begun. Our troop is very fair and transparent with it’s fundraising for Jamboree. You do a shift per child and the profits are only split between the families there on the day. Every bit helps. I must say a black hole is swallowing up our finances, which very well have my name on it but it’s easier to blame a malevolent, nebulous force than to accept personal liability.

Getting back to the BBQ, as I said this was a bit of a stretch for me. I have some coordination issues and so slicing up the onion or cooking the sausages seemed a bit beyond me, but serving and needing to count change also felt rather daunting. I never count my change and consider myself functionally innumerate. However, I managed well. Only slipped up when some pesky person decided to shout his mate and I had to calculate a few sangers, drinks…oh boy!

This week, I had a post published over at Smorgasbord  hosted by Sally Cronin. Perhaps, you might have read Life Is Meant To Be Easy. Even so, I still encourage you to pop over and read the comments. They are quite encouraging.

I have been getting back into the blog lately, which I’m enjoying. This week, I participated in Friday Fictioneers again, writing: The Snow Job. I also wrote about trading my high heels in for sensible shoes in Finding My Happy Feet.

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Carpe Diem: Seize the Day!! It’s are rare occasion that I’m able to wear heeled shoes but I wore these fabulous beauties to my cousin’s engagement party at Circular Quay.

Our daughter’s 12th birthday is coming up this Saturday. She’s having a slumber party and we’ll be setting up the tent once again in the backyard. I think I have much to worry about here but I don’t think the onslaught has registered yet.

How has your week been? I’d love to hear from you.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

Weekly Smile… 17th July, 2017.

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

Mother Teresa

Any motivational guru will tell you, that when you least feel like smiling, is just the time to get out there are find something, anything to smile about.

It’s  mid-Winter here and we recently lost our older dog, Bilbo and to be perfectly honest, I just feel like hibernating. Not so much because I’m feeling depressed. It’s simply my response to the cold. In much of Australia, our houses are not designed for the cold and since we only need the heater on for about a month a year, I tend to tough it out until my fingers and toes are numb. There’s no central heating. So, while the winters aren’t as cold as other places, inside the house could well be much worse.

I’ve had quite a few things, which have made me smile this week. To read the extended version, you can refer back to my Coffee Share Post

The biggest smile I had this week, was watching my son performing in the Gang Show. The Gang Show is a variety show put on by scouts and guides and it was a real delight to see him smiling throughout the entire performance. He danced and acted well too, and I really admire his commitment to rehearsing for something like 4 months. It’s been a big effort.

“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”

-Doris Day

Our surviving dog, Lady, has also brought me many smiles and much love particularly since Bilbo passed away. I’ve never seen such a happy dog. She wags her tail like crazy, and her entire body quivers with excitement. Naturally, that has to cheer you up!!

Lady kids coffee

Lady with the kids leading her astray. She’s not allowed up to the table. 

Lady spreads so much happiness, that I’ve been thinking of using her as a therapy dog. However, I looked up the stringent requirements, and suspect we’re a bit too laissez-faire. Lady doesn’t always come when she’s called and I also found out that being  “portly”, can lead to rejection as well. Not to be deterred, I noticed how much joy she brings to people simply walking down the street, and thought that could be our thing. That we don’t need to be part of a program or strut our stuff to share her zest for life with people who need it most. We can think global and walk local.

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.”
― Ashly Lorenzana

Bilbo and paw prints

No paw dipping for Bilbo. He stayed well clear of the water…and the other dogs for that matter. He’s the canine equivalent of a bloke standing alone holding his beer in the corner at the pub.

If you would like to read more about the mood-boosting power of dogs, this article is very comprehensive.

If you have a dog, how do they help you smile?

The Weekly Smile is hosted by Trent McDonald at  Trent’s World and you can join in the link-up here.

xx Rowena

Happy Birthday To Me…Enjoying the Australian Outdoors.

Happy Birthday to me!

We cruised by the sea.

Bushwalked to the lookout.

Then went home for tea.

Welcome to my virtual birthday party. Once upon a time, one of my friends would’ve turned up with vodka jellies and chocolate mouse, but I can offer you a Tim Tam. You could also join us to watch a great Australian movie: Oddball. It’s based on a true story of a Mareema Sheepdog, Oddball,  who saved a endangered colony of fairy penguins from foxes. We loved it.

Today, I reached the magical age of 21…again!

After opening presents this morning with the family, we set off bright and early for a history cruise along our local waterways with the kids’ Scout group. Although I’d originally planned to head into Sydney to the Koi Dessert Bar for my birthday, this cropped up and it felt like a ready-made party. We just had to turn up…perfect!

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf, Woy Woy.

The cruise set out from Woy Woy, which is is roughly 2 hours drive North from the Sydney CBD. You might recall that Spike Milligan placed Woy Woy on the world stage, although you could say the publicity was hardly positive. He described Woy Woy as “the world’s only above-ground cemetery”.

Indeed, this is what he had to say about Woy Woy back in 1959, when he wrote a portrait of his parents’ home “Goon Fishing”:

“There is, somewhere in the steaming bush of Australia, a waterside town called Woy Woy (Woy it is called Woy Woy Oi will never know).

 

Coffee By Moonlight

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share!

How was your week? I hope you’ve had a good week but I also understand that many of you have a lot on your plate and things aren’t easy. That’s what friends and community is for. Somewhere to rest your weary soul and feel the tension release.

If we were having coffee this week, we’d be looking at the night sky and the stars and philosophising. I’ve been in a reflective, contemplative and even vegetative state for the last few days after the excitement of our son’s triumphant return from the Australian Scouting Jamboree. It’s been a welcome relief from the weeks of renovating and cleaning which went on while he was away.

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Of course, when you go into his room now, it looks like it’s always been this way. That we’ve done nothing, which in effect glosses over all our hard work. In some ways, this defeats part of the purpose of renovating his room. That is to show him we love him and for him to look at his room and feel loved, valued, special. At the same time, we didn’t want him to feel guilty or that we weren’t happy to do the work. It truly has been a labour of love where our hearts have been turned inside out and plastered to those walls. Will he still feel the intensity and purpose of that love if he can’t appreciate what it took? I don’t know.

Perhaps. we should’ve stuck post-it notes all over the place, pointing out all our many hidden battles. “Patched hole in wall here”, “This skirting board has been sculpted to accommodate crooked wall, poorly situated powerpoints and network cables”. Or, perhaps I should simply stick a post-it  with “OMG” in huge caps on there. There were also edges we went over and over with blue then white then blue paint as we kept wandering out of the lines. I could also write a note documenting how my husband was staying up really late working on the room every night after exceptionally early starts and doing overtime at work. Of course, through the usual twists and turns of fate, a really busy time at work just had to coincide with an urgent project at home. The endless days of very heavy rain also slowed things down.

So, we ended up having quite a tight deadline towards the end. Of course, we didn’t need anyone to tell us that our best intentions would be destroyed if his bed was still out in the lounge room and his room under construction when he returned.  After 11 nights of camping on a rough stretcher, we would have been done for. The absolute worst parents in the world!!

I should also add that just the whole prospect of painting the skirting boards for his room, triggered a terrible near panic attack where I became completely paralyzed by my fear of failure, making a mistake: Scaredy Mum!The boards were yet to be fitted so it wasn’t difficult. However,  as heavy rain prevented me from getting started, these fears really festered badly. Sure, it’s difficult to know what your capabilities are as a person living with chronic health and disability but that’s no excuse for dropping your bundle. Particular now I’ve been reminded about another aspect of Lao Tzu’s quote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. At least for me, that first step is the hardest part and after that it’s smooth sailing. I did encounter difficulties painting the wall and became dizzy but I put in a respectable effort.

The dog had a bit to say about my efforts there and also wrote his tips for fighting fear: Dog’s Guide to Fighting Fear

In the end, we know full well that the lad won’t appreciate what went into fixing up his room until he’s a Dad doing the same for his kids. Then, he’ll know and we might even get a phone call.

That’s just the way it is.

So, now that’s done, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve hung up my paintbrush and handed in my resignation. No more renovating! Hey, who am I kidding? When you have an old crooked house, renovation is like the good old days of painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Once it’s finally over a one end, you’re back to the beginning again!

By the way, Mister did appreciate his room. No huge leaps of excitement but it was deemed “very good”.

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Also, he said returning home was “weird”. Weird to have electricity again after 12 days going without and it was also “weird” having somewhere “comfortable to sleep”. Not unsurprisingly,  since his return he’s spent much time playing on his iPad, curled up in his blanket in bed.

I should also add that after missing Mister all that time, the dogs barely spoke to him when he first came back and gave him the real cold shoulder treatment. By the end of the night, however, all was forgiven.

jonathon & bilbo

Boy & Dog Reunited.

School goes back in 11 days so now this naughty, rebellious little night owl re-establishing something approaching normal sleeping patterns. Somehow, I need to acclimatize to waking up at 6.30AM to drive our daughter to school 45 minutes away. Instead of being able to have a daytime nap, I’ll be staying up there to bring her home in the afternoon. This is also going to dramatically play around with my writing and getting on with the Book Project, especially until I find a cosy nook where I can write and call my own. Once she’s settled, she’ll be catching the train and bus and I’ll probably just be dropping her at the station and picking her up. She might even become fully independent. I’m just playing it by ear.

Tomorrow, we’ll be off to buy Mister’s high school uniform. Not sure whether I’m truly ready for that either. That said, it would help if I got out of my pyjamas!

In terms of my writing in the last week, I’ve been rather inspired by Mister’s trip away at the Australian Scouting Jamboree and all his adventures. I had pretty low expectations of finding out much of what happened at camp and I was delighted to overhear him talking on the phone…his  Jamboree Tips. He sounded so grown up.These make for entertaining reading.

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As time went by, tales of Funnel Web Spiders began to emerge. These are considered the most deadly spiders in the world. Apparently, while I was concerned about him being out in a tent in the heavy rain, he was scared of Funnel Webs. It is mating season and the male funnel webs are out on the prowl in search of true love. A couple of funnel webs were found close to their tent and then a warning was issued that funnel webs had been found in scout’s bags returning home. Mister promptly ejected his bag out of his room and dumped it at MY feet. Perhaps, I should’ve been proud that he had such faith in his old Mum but not being the most attentive soul, I didn’t have a lot of faith myself. I have bifocals and sometimes they even miss the blatantly obvious. At the same time, I have  my self-respect and didn’t want to stoop to the “wait til your father gets home” routine. You can read the full story here.

book pile

I am also trying to reduce my book pile. After scouring the book shelves, however, I’ve only found 6 books to move on. For some reason, I just can’t find the heart to be ruthless to such good friends and good intentions. Perhaps, I’ll have better luck with the kids’ books. Trouble is, I like reading some of them too!

Anyway, thank you so much for joining me for coffee and I hope you have a great week ahead. This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share  and here’s the link up.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Lessons from A Young Scout.

Having our son back safe and sound from Australian Scouting Jamboree was only half of the equation. Finding out what happened at camp was undoubtedly more challenging, requiring great journalistic and detective stealth and all sorts of secret, underhand tactics. Bribery and corruption are just what I can mention in public. It gets a hell of a lot worse.After all, you have to be very sneaky to navigate your way around the hard and fast rule: “what happens at camp, stays at camp”. Not even the leaders dob.

While I’m a strong believer in giving my kids room to grow, you can’t blame me for being interested in my child, can you?

I’ve been secretly wishing I could somehow be that pesky fly following him around everywhere, driving him nuts all day without him actually twigging that it’s Mum still following him around with her camera.

For better and for worse, I couldn’t be that fly. Instead, I had to let both of us go so we could each grow and stretch our wings. That said, somehow I managed to fly into a paint tin and spent ten days renovating his room along with his Dad. But that’s true love, isn’t it?!!

This, of course, leaves me with a very fragmented, patchy and distant view of what he’s been up to. It’s going to take time for all the stories to percolate into conversation but I’m doing my best to help him capture these memories to last a life time.

That said, thank goodness, there’s been a Facebook page where leaders posted photos for the families. However, Mister’s been conspicuously absent. Well, not entirely but if you’ve seen me in action, it’s nothing for me to take 300 photos in a day, so there was always going to be “a gap”.

A gap I’m sure all parents know too well. It’s that automatic gap which follows a parent’s enthusiastic: “How was it?” There’s that silence which might, if you’re very lucky, be followed by a grunt or a “nothing much” as they find the real meaning of life in Minecraft.

Anyway, as other parents would appreciate, taking a direct approach, usually yields poor returns. Instead, you have to be devious. Eavesdrop. Ask their friends. I have found that even though “leaky lips sink ships”, someone is usually only too willing to share but it usually takes a bit of time.

I should add that the scouts weren’t able to take phones away to camp. Our son is yet to acquire a mobile so we weren’t used to being able to contact him any time any where but he did call me twice but these were brief 2 minutes snatches before the money ran out.We weren’t a local call.

So, you can just imagine my excitement when I overhear Mister talking to his sister on the phone  and I hear the words  “my tips for Jamboree are…”!!

Miss is currently staying with my parents to help Mister adapt to re-entry. We expected him to be pretty tired and that he might need some peace and quiet. Miss is a Cub Scout and was too young to attend this Jamboree but she has every intention of attending in 3 years’ time. Geoff and Miss went down to Jamboree for their open day called “Super Saturday”. She loved it!

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So when I heard Mister authoritatively sharing his”Jamboree Tips” with his little sister,  I was all ears. Better still, being the unashamed eavesdropper and reporter that I’ve always been, I instantly grabbed an old envelope and a pen and was clearly taking notes. How priceless was this? Big Brother giving his little sister advice. It really touched me somewhere deep inside my heart. It was one of those real gooey “ooh” moments where as a parent, you just glow all over with pride!

There were only two tips and I must admit I was hoping there would have been more. However, two life lessons was certainly way more than the grunt I’d anticipated from a very sleepy Scout on his return.

Mister’s Jamboree Life Lessons

Tip 1: Don’t leave wet clothes lying on the ground. They attract funnel web spiders. Put your clothes on something where they’ll get dry. (They did actually find funnel webs near their tent and I was told “someone was bitten” but very much doubt it.

I’ve since had word from the Scout leader on the subject of Funnel Webs:”Fortunately the funnelwebs only made their presence felt on the last day. Regards tip one with not leaving clothes on the ground wet or otherwise, it wasn’t so much the spiders, but more that the clothes will be, well, wet and you’ll have nothing to dry to wear, seemingly a worse fate!”

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Tip 2: Challenge your limits. I jumped off a board that was 20 metres high and you land on your back or it really hurts. (This was the Stunt Jump and apparently there is some debate about how high it actually was. Geoff thinks it was more like 10 metres)

However, while I thought he was giving these tips to his sister, he was actually talking to my Mum…his grandmother! My mother has certainly tried a range of new things since becoming a grandparent but I doubt camping is going to be one of them…especially co-habitating with deadly Funnel Web! Spiders!

That said, I shouldn’t  sell her short. Why shouldn’t she extend her limits as well? I’m not going to stop her. Yet, at the same time, I can’t imagine her trying out the stunt jump either. Go Granny! Who am I to decide how someone else constructs and re-constructs themselves? A few years ago, I went away on an adventure camp myself and went quad bike riding. Who would have thought? I’m sure the kids thought I was close to being a Granny myself.

No one is set in stone! Human beings are always full of surprises!

Later on, I also received tip number three:

Tip 3: Mummy, having a watermelon to yourself isn’t a good thing. I felt sick in my stomach after 12 bites but I kept going. Mummy , they had five crates filled to the top with watermelon. We took 1 1/2 crates and ate them ourselves.

Jonathon alone watermelon

I think all that watermelon went straight to his face!

I’m interested to hear what other life lessons Mister has picked up while he’s been away. Stay tuned!

While I’ve been thrilled that he’s been able to have this experience and  wasn’t worried about him at a conscious level, I was missing him. I’ve been a bit like the dog knowing he should be here and feeling a bit lost or out of kilter without him. That’s not a bad thing either because a bit of absence makes you appreciate each other more and helps to reinforce what’s important.

There are so many things money can’t buy and yet money also funds huge extravaganzas like Jamboree and helps the wheels turn round…a Catch 22.

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See! Drop Bears! I’m not imagining anything!

I also believe children need community beyond their own family. That they need to experience how different people live and that there’s more than one way to do things. That diversity is what gives our world it’s colour, vibrancy and texture. We do not want the world to be full of clones of ourselves. How boring is that? Yet, isn’t that what so many strive so hard to achieve? If birds of a feather only flew together, where would humanity be?

I don’t know AND I don’t want to find out either!

Yet, I still feel pressured to conform, even though I’m beyond the flow and there’s always some part of me sticking out of the box. Even I, with all my rhetoric about accepting and loving ourselves as we are, still instinctively reaches for the scissors to snip all those extra bits off. Don’t you? Even though, we know we shouldn’t because these beautiful “extras” are what makes us who we truly are…our identity. These are far too precious to simply snip off, throw out and yet that quest for “acceptance” can override all sense of accepting and being ourselves.

My son hasn’t mentioned that he felt accepted at Jamboree. That he made friends and belonged but he did. I don’t know how that environment differed to the playground but somehow it did. I don’t know if everyone got on as well as it seemed but at least in the photos, they were one big, extremely happy jungle of kids making the most of the sun, rain and glorious mud…

At least, that’s what I’ve eavesdropped from Jamboree.

Have you ever been involved with Scouts or Guides? Please share some of your experiences!

xx Rowena

Scaredy Mum! Dog tells all!

Although dibber-dobbing is well and truly against The Dog’s Code of Ethics, I have to speak out.

The life of whistle blower isn’t easy but leaving someone caught up and strangled by their own fear, is sanctioning self-destruction.Naturally, that’s something no decent dog would ever condone. So, once again, Bilbo, Mum’s loyal canine crusader is back.

Besides, when someone  has the audacity to write you a set of  New Year’s Resolutions before they’ve even considered their own, I’m sure you’ll agree they deserve “their comeuppance!”

Mum is supposed to be painting six skirting boards, which are destined for Mister’s bedroom, which is currently under re-construction. Instead, the skirting boards, work benches, paint tin and brush are all still out in the garage while Mum has been writing! She’s even been writing about the renovations. That is, instead of actually doing any renovating. I was naturally shocked because “renovating” is a doing word… not some fluffy adjective!

While at first, I thought Mum was just being her typically lazy self (remember she did nothing to try to find the missing Mister and bring him home!) or procrastinating. However, using my superior canine detective skills, I sniffed out that she was caught in the grasp of a paralyzing perfectionism. Indeed, the fear of making even the smallest mistake, had left her stonkered. She’d retreated deep inside her shell and wouldn’t come out.

Indeed, Mum has not only opened the door to fear but has also offered it a seat, a cup of tea and even a piece of Vegemite toast. Now, they’re parked in front of the TV set together, the best of mates when she should be out there painting instead. Moreover, what with fear whispering her sweet nothings, she’s become dangerously intoxicated. Paralyzed. Dad just mentioned the word “paint” and I heard her mutter something about Pandora’s Box and how even opening the tin was going to unleash something deadly. A poison? An explosion? I couldn’t be sure but either way, Mum was convinced she was going to die! It would mean the end of the world.

That’s some tin of paint!

Now, I’m sure you can appreciate how Mum’s been sorely trying my patience. I mean, these crazy humans think they know how to run the world better than dogs simply because they walk on two legs. They’ve stuck themselves up on some kind of dais way above God, I mean dog (Sorry about that. I sometimes get my letters mixed up) when indeed, they spend most of their lives chasing their own tails, instead of putting them to good use.

Of course, I’ve tried to be compassionate and understanding, especially during meals when she’ll usually slip me some Vegemite toast! However, now I need your help. Sometimes trying to work out humans is even beyond me.

Why can’t Mum just get on with the job?

Hasn’t she heard that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”?

After all, that’s human, not dog, philosophy. Why can’t she understand that once she starts painting, that it will become so much easier to keep going and get the job done? That getting started is the hard part and once you’ve jumped that hurdle, you’re almost home…especially with something so simple?

Yet, she’s still there entertaining fear like it’s her best friend! It’s been more than a few days and now that the rain’s cleared up, there can be no more excuses. Time is running out. Soon, Mister will be back from Scout camp and expecting his bed in his room. Not parked on it’s side in the lounge room like it’s had CPR.

If only she’d asked me for assistance, I’d have had those planks painted with my eyes closed. They might not have appreciated the black fur in the paint but I’d sacrifice my tail to make Mum happy.

Then again, doing it for her isn’t really helping, is it? Only making things worse. I might as well ask fear to stay on for dinner and even dessert. No! Mum has to get out of that chair and start painting.

Well, if you think fear can be darn persistent and annoying, you’ve never met a Border Collie. I have a PhD in persistence. You just ask Dad about my ball. Actually, perhaps you’d better not!

Bilbo with ball

Bilbo appropriating another dog’s ball.

What you humans have only half worked out about us dogs, is that we can not only read your minds, we plant messages in there as well. Indeed, we’re so good at it that you mistake it for your own idea.

So, I began planting subliminal messages in Mum’s head. Memories of successfully skiing down the mountain at Perisher when she was even struggling to walk. Playing her violin. Driving the car. All these things are so much harder than painting a couple of planks, surely she’ll get my drift! That she can do it and besides, isn’t not trying the only real form of failure?!!

However, even after all of those hard efforts, she’s still unsure.

So, I’m going for the big guns aiming straight for the heart strings. Being so risky, this is a last resort. I’ve heard terrible stories of accidentally snapping their heartstrings and after that, the humans don’t seem to function very well.

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Hesitantly, I start thinking of Mister and how he’ll feel when he arrives home and sees his new room. How he’ll see this as so much more than just a coat of paint. That by doing up his room, Mum and Dad have turned their hearts inside out and painted their love onto those walls. It will be just like when they welcomed him home to his new room as a baby, only now he’s well on his way to becoming a man.

Then, just to make sure, I threw in a good dose of guilt. Mister arriving home to find a demolition sight instead and walking straight out that door and back to camp.

Yes, I know that was getting low but if you’d seen how Mum and fear were chatting, laughing, connecting at such a deep and personal level, you’d be using every trick in the book as well!

Ha! There she goes just like a puppet on a string, walking straight out to the garage.  I told her that job would be a breeze!

Now, just look at her go…over a few days shelves, a wall. Once she gets going, she could almost paint a thousand miles except she’s also human. She has her limits.

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Miss helping to paint Mister’s room.

So, with less than 24 hours now before Mister arrives home, I’m off to round her up again. While she’s made a great start, she still needs to make it to the finish.

Have the room ready and pick Mister up!

By the way, I’m not so sure that I mixed those letters up…DOG…GOD?

Does it matter?

Either way, I’m smarter than your average human!

That’s a fact!

xx Bilbo!