Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Intellectual? I Think Not - and Other Things

Intellectual?  I Think Not!

Trying to be a good little Vegemite, I decided to subscribe to a writer’s magazine to help keep my fingers on the pulse of the writing job in general in Australia.  It arrived the other day and I was quite excited.  In fact, I felt quite righteous and very professional.  I opened up the magazine and started to read the first article.  After having a brain spasm, I flicked to the next article.  I got a cramp in the left side of the brain.  Next article, the cramp had spread to the right side.  By the time I got to the last article my eyes were glazed over and I was jerking in my chair.  Little spasms of, well, horror really.  Why?  Because the realisation dawned on me that I just wasn’t intellectual enough to read some of these articles.  Only one could I understand, the rest was written by, I’m sure, a Professor of the highest degree in the best University in Australia.  And I mean the WHOLE of Australia.

The wording, the ideas, the whole thing - well, I can’t actually recall it all, to be truthful, because the whole thing whizzed right over my head.  Or it went in my eyes and fell out my ears, because I am living proof that all but one of those articles actually stayed in my head.  And I mean ONE article I understood and retained.  The rest just fell right out of my head, just *bloop* and there it all was, lying on the floor.  It glided right past my brain and fell to the floor.

I am empowered, however.  I am not beaten!  My intellect doesn’t set that high a bar and I am out and proud to admit it!  I’ve pulled up my big girl panties, my plus-sized undies, and powered ahead.  I tossed that magazine aside and it will never see the light of day again and I am happy.  I will just toddle along, doing my thing and reading articles that are a little more to my intellect.  (Not that other articles are low intelligence, but there are articles out there that I can actually understand).

I know, some of you might be sucking in your breath in horror and telling me not to put myself down. I’m not.  I’m just being honest and happy to be so!  Face it, I still find fart jokes hilarious, toilet humour is right up my alley, and a dirty joke will always get a snigger from me (and a repeat to anyone who will listen that won’t complain that I’m SO rude and take offence.).  That’s just the way I am!

And Other Things

Speaking of rude things, I once mentioned that my computer thesaurus was coy.  Words relating to genitalia or amorous feelings (you know - SEXY!!!!) are unknown on my computer thesaurus.  So I often go to my old handy thesaurus that is falling apart (I kid you not, the pages are yellow, too).  It has all the best words.  So I decided, as I watched another page waft to the floor when I picked it up, that it was time to buy a new thesaurus.  I had a look on-line to see what was available, and as so often happens when I’m looking at books, I got a little carried away and decided I needed a new Thesaurus, a new dictionary, and hey! Let’s go the whole hog and grab a thesaurus/dictionary combined.  Soooo excited (and yes, had that feeling of being very righteous and professional again.  Funny that).  The books arrived, I tore off the wrappings and checked the contents, ready to be inspired, to find new words that haven’t been flogged to death in romances to describe genitalia and emotions/feelings and touchy bits, and what happens?  Ye gods!  The new thesaurus and dictionaries are coy as well!  I kid you not!  My old, decrepit, loose-paged, yellowed-pages thesaurus still has more words describing what I want (to write, that is - really, I think I’m not the only one with her mind in the gutter).  Unbelievable!  In this day and age when romances aren’t just bodice rippers but can be pants rippers too (zips, buttons, everything flying), when romances get erotic and whips start flying to, when reading an erotic story can involve some things that go way past my comfort level at times, when TV shows have people popping in and out of each others beds like they have a built-in pogo stick, when even some statues you buy can have you shoving it into a plain brown paper bag before you’re game to walk out of the shop - and the thesaurus and dictionary are COY?  C’mon people, give me a break!!!!!

Looks like it’s me and my trusty old thesaurus.  The new ones are still sitting on the shelf, barely touched.  Meanwhile, my old thesaurus falls open automatically at certain pages.  It’s why I never tell Mum to look something up in it when she wants to know something.  I give her the new thesaurus or dictionary.  Heh heh.

And Rounding It All Off With Evie

So Evie has a new habit.  I know - shocking!  But this is it.

Evie has always slept with her beloved Granny (my Mum).  She has her little blankie up between Mum’s pillow and the wall.  She goes to sleep with her head in Granny’s hand.  When it’s cold, she crawls under the covers and cuddles up to Granny’s chest.  Granny is all hers.

If anyone dares to come on the bed - LOOK OUT.  Just LOOK OUT!  The little fire cracker goes gonzo and hunts them off.  The other night she chased Theo out of the bed and down the passage.  Man, he only has to sit on her and she’ll disappear, he’s so big in comparison to her.  But size doesn’t matter to Evie, she’ll take anyone on who dares to pinch her spot.  Yes, PINCH HER BLANKIE!  She saw Lily asleep on her blankie one evening and I thought her eyes were going to pop clean out of her head.  The absolute horror and disbelief on her face was a sight to see.  I solved that by picking up Lily and taking her to my bed.  I’m sure she did it deliberately, because she had her head hanging down watching Evie the whole way, and her tail was flicking.

Anyway, I’ve waffled off the path (as usual).  Now, Evie seems determined to have Granny to herself every night all night.  As soon as Mum turns off the light, I lie there reading and waiting,  Sure enough, about ten minutes after I hear Mum’s bedroom door creak shut slowly.  Like really slowly.  Ccccccrrrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkkkkk.  It bounces off the door frame a little.  Next comes Mum’s voice.
“Evie, do you have to?”
Yes, apparently Evie does have to shut the door EVERY NIGHT!  Mum has to get up and prop the door open so Evie can’t shut it, then she carts Evie back to bed, and for the next couple of minutes you can hear Mum and Evie have this conversation, with Mum talking and Evie squeaking back, until they finally both settle.
Really, it’s like the night isn’t complete now until we go through this new behaviour!

So life is as usual - working two jobs (day job and writing), the furries, and oh yes!  I see some of my fav TV series are coming out on DVD finally.  We don’t get Foxtel so I always have to wait for the DVD releases (I don’t do piracy. Hate it!)  A new zombie series is coming out this month ‘Z Nation’ - can’t wait!  And I was cruising You Tube looking for the latest horror movie trailers and stumbled on a trailer for Hemlock Grove which I’d never heard of but looks happily spooky.  And (be still my beating heart) The Walking Dead season 5 is coming out Sept!  My hands are all sweaty just thinking about all these DVDs to be released and falling into my hot, sweaty little hands.  I have 2 weeks holiday in the Sept/Oct holidays, 2 weeks to just read and write - I’m gonna have a zombie marathon - back to back people munchers, here I come!!!  The light is at the end of the tunnel!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Great Pill Debacle & Kitty Catch-Up

Man oh man, a few things have happened since my last entry.  Two of them involve the cats (big surprise), and one involved me and a suspect travel pill, which I now refer to as The Great Pill Debacle.

Before you all suck in your breaths in horror at the pill bit, I’ll tell you all that it wasn’t an illegal pill!  So let’s just get that little tid-bit out of the way first.


So, last weekend I went to the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra.  It was totally awesome!!!!!  Met writers, readers, and a host of wonderful volunteers who had the convention up and running so wonderfully.  Thank you all!

So, before I talk about The Great Pill Debacle, let’s all start with my fear of flying - mainly that the freakin’ plane will fall out of the sky.  My second biggest thing is that I get travel sick - plane, car, bus, doesn’t matter.  The only travel I can do without barfing is if I’m driving (and I can’t, you know, drive the plane or bus), so I prefer to drive.  Unfortunately, driving the plane was out of the question (BTW, did you know romance author Helene Young pilots a plane?? I knew Susan Grant did, but this makes 2 female authors piloting planes for their ‘day job’.  How cool is that?)

Anyway, I forgot to pack travel pills, so I was, understandably, basically crapping my daks that I’d chunder during the flight.  But no, all went well from Geraldton to Perth to Melbourne.  Then along came the final leg of the journey to Canberra.  I’m sitting at the BACK of the friggin’ plane (can you believe it?  THE BACK?) and this lovely lady is sitting beside me.  I’m going okay - you know, eyes closed, telling myself to breath, it was nearly all over.  Then this lovely lady starts to chat to me, and crikey moses, it was Allie Sinclair, fellow author and ARRC attendee!  So we chatted and marvelled at the coincidence…and then we hit turbulence.

OMG, I thought my stomach was going to erupt out my mouth.  I could feel the heaving of both my gut and the plane, and I’m pretty sure I left my finger marks in the arm-rests of the seat.

I’m not sure what Allie thought - one minute I’m chatting away, the next I’m going rather quiet.  This was actually due to me having my lips clamped shut (some workmates would think that was a miracle on its own).  I’m positive I went either grey or green - not too sure which - but Allie was just too polite to point that out. 

Obviously my Guardian Angel was on my side (or scared I’d chunder over him), because we made it to the tarmac without me hurling over everyone in the plane.  I know, you think that’s an exaggeration, but have you ever heard of projectile vomiting?  Just think me in the back of a plane plus turbulence and you’ll get the idea.

Allie apparently didn’t take offence at my sudden silence (if you’re reading this Allie, please know I wasn’t suddenly being a stuck up cow, I was just trying not to christen you with digestive juices!!  I know, it’s actually rather noble of me…) and we shared a taxi to the hotel.

So this all sounds great.  It WAS great.  Then I had a taxi driver that thought using his mobile phone one-handed while operating the steering wheel with the other hand was a good idea.  I don’t know about his brake systems, but my feet put a hole through his floorboards as I was doing some braking of my own.

To be fair, the other taxi drivers were great - both hands on the wheel at all times!

The weekend was totally awesome, as I said.  I also had the presence of mind to buy some travel sick pills from the chemist before heading back in the wide blue yonder.  And this leads to:

The Great Pill Debacle

I read the instructions while sitting at the airport - take 30 minutes before boarding the plane.  30 minutes?  Are you kidding me?  I have to pee before I board the pane, as I hate using the toilets there (besides, everyone watches you go to the loo door and they KNOW what you’re going to do!), so I decide to take two tablets an hour and a half before the plane takes off.  This way I have plenty of time to empty the old bladder at least three times.  Man, I am like a dog with a fire hydrant and it’s all my mother’s fault (I tell her this).  When we were little, every time we found a toilet she made us go in case there were no other toilets around.  Now every time I spot a loo, I have to go.  Even if it is 2 drops.  Because I’m telling you, if you don’t do those two drops it will be Niagara Falls by the time you sit in the plane and fasten your seat belt.  Trust me.

So I take the two pills and kick back to read (I’m a couple of hours early).  After awhile I notice that I’m getting really tired.  Like, I’m getting REALLY tired.  My eyes start to cross and I swear, my right eyelid was almost shut, the left halfway there.

I’m thinking - WTHell?  I can hardly keep my eyes open.  I drag  my eyelids up, peer groggily around, and notice that the floor is starting to lift just a little.  A sudden brainwave slugs through my head and I pull the box out, squint tiredly at it and - holy crap!  It states ‘THIS TABLET MAY CAUSE DROWSINESS’.  You THINK?  You freakin’ THINK?  It’s not MAY, it HAS!  No wonder I can hardly stay awake - I’ve doped myself!!!!!!

If this wasn’t bad enough I suddenly realise how thirsty I am.  My mouth is dry, my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth, and I want to drink the river.  But I don’t dare to drink too much, because then I’ll need to pee and I refuse to pee on the plane!

So I decide that the best thing to do would be to get up and walk - walk to the loo, walk around.  Good plan.  God knows how I managed it.  I got up, wheeled across the corridor, tried to walk a straight line, and had my head cocked on one side because the freakin’ floor was on an angle.  I kid you not, I couldn’t see straight! Staggered down the corridor, wheeled into the toilet block, fell into a cubicle and flopped onto a seat.  I don’t know how I managed to stay awake, but I dragged the wet wipes from my bag and scrubbed my face, trying to refresh myself.

Did it work?  Seriously?  For me?  SERIOUSLY?

 So I wavered my way back out of the loo (remembering to take a tinkle beforehand), washed my hands, wheeled out of the toilet block and staggered back to my chair.  I’m lucky I didn’t fall a**e over t*t as I negotiated the heaving floor.

So, eyeballs practically hanging out of my head, bags under my eyes so big they almost sat on the floor beside my carry-on luggage, and tongue as dry as the Sahara Desert, I waited for the freakin’ flight to be called.

Two cops walked past, and hey, I’m all about a man in uniform.  Normally the idea of a pat down to search me for illicit goods would have been fodder for my books (and fuel for my imagination), but right then I thought if they tried, I’d fall at their feet and start snoring and that, folks, would not have been cool.  Needless to say, they didn’t notice me sitting in the chair, eyelids drooping, tongue lolling out…  As soon as I got on that damned plane, I buckled the seatbelt and shut my eyes. Oh, thank God!!!!!  SNOOZEFEST!!!!!

Coincidences being coincidences, at the Perth airport, ready to take the last leg home, I met my boss and the theatre manager also waiting for the plane.  Thank God I was recovered by then, because I’m not sure what they would have thought of me staggering around, tongue hanging out, gasping for water and complaining about the upheaval of the floor.  And further coincidence, the lady sitting beside me was a midwife from the other hospital in my town!!!!  So we had a good gab fest on the way home.


Now these both happened before I left home for Canberra (of course).

Evie.  I’m typing away, happily writing the next million dollar bestseller (yeah, right!), and she’s snoozing on the desk in front of me.  I glance up and had a WTHell! moment.  My screen was sideways.  SIDEWAYS!  It wasn’t freakin’ sideways minutes ago, but it is now!  I have to turn my head sideways to try and read ANYTHING.  The whole desktop IS FREAKIN’ SIDEWAYS!

Evie just looks at me, stretches, bats her eyelashes and goes back to sleep.

I’m panicking.  OMG, I have to get this stuff done, I don’t have time to READ THINGS SIDEWAYS!  I’m pressing buttons, looking for help, and it’s as useful as tits on a bull (which, if you didn’t know beforehand, I’ll tell you right now, is useless).  I ended up Googling SIDEWAYS to find an answer!  Ever tried to use your mouse and look at the screen with your head twisted sideways?  Let me inform you now that it isn’t easy, and the friggin’ cursor does its own thing.  I ended up finding the answer on a forum.  A few easy clicks and I nearly fell off the chair in relief.  THANK GOD!  Evie just kept snoozing.

Then Mum asked why I didn’t just take her off the desk.  Seriously?  Move the baby?  NO!!!  I mean - sheesh!  Right?  If you’re a cat lover, you know what I’m going on about.

THEO.  Darling Theo.  Big boy, gentle giant, doesn’t do much wrong.  So one night two weeks ago I’m flopped on the sofa with my feet up on the footrest, and Theo is doing his Sphinx pose near my feet, and I notice a red thing just below his shoulder blades.  Further investigation reveals a patch of no hair - and get this - no skin.  This red patch with what looks like flesh and some kind of white strip (sinew?  Bone?  Fat?  What?).  Theo won’t let us get a good look, and goes from Gentle Giant to Fearsome Bear, so as he wasn’t bleeding we decided that Mum would hoon to the vet with him in the morning.

Next afternoon I get home from this course I was on for work, to find Theo walking around with the Cone of Shame around his neck.  Not only that, he’s ping-ponging back and forth between the glass door and the old sofa in the back room.  I mean he kept bouncing off one, walk straight into the other, bounce off that and it just kept going.  He was stuck in his version of a tennis table with him as the ball and the door and sofa as the bats.  So I righted him up and set him off in the correct direction, so he just walked into the walls and into the fan instead, scraping the Cone of Shame against the wall, a little wild-eyed.  After watching this torturous path for a few minutes, I finally took the Cone of Shame off because it was NOT doing him any good.

Good boy that he is, he didn’t touch his stitches.

Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you about his stitches.  Theo had been stitched up with about 7 stitches, right across under his shoulder blades.  This cat, who has lived in this house for about 12 yrs or so, and we’d never changed anything, had managed to cut himself on something sharp.  Mum and I tore the house apart looking for the offending sharp object, searched the cattery, but nothing.  Nadda.  Zilch. 

Not only a WTHell moment, but cue the Twilight Zone music as well.  Maybe that should be The X-Files.  Aw, what the heck, let’s just do all three! 

I took his stitches out yesterday with Mum’s help.  Damn if it wasn’t a last insult to injury.  Mum pinned him down, I got the stitches out…and now I realise I have to have glasses for close work because I had a hell time trying to see the itty-bitty stitches!!!!  It wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t struggled so much, but - OMG! 

So quite an eventful time this last month!!!!!  I might need another holiday….

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Great Food Debate & Furry Visitors

Good grief, where does the time go?  Seriously, it’s been that long since I wrote a blog post?  I am so bad!  Someone send a handsome bloke in uniform to spank me!

Oops, did I say that out loud?  *red-faced*

Anyway, I thought it was about time I did an update on the furry horde.

The furry horde are driving me nuts in the food department.  Seriously.  SERIOUSLY!

You know people who have cats because you can spot them hovering in the pet food aisles, anxiously surveying the vast assortment of tins and packets, trying to decide what Their Majesties will fancy.  Liver in sauce?  Fish in prawn juice?  Beef in gravy?  Prawn in crab jelly?  It all sounds fantastic, but we all know how it ends.  With the juice/gravy/jelly all sucked up and bits of fish left over while Their Majesties look at you and say, “Got any more gravy?  ‘Cause this is, you know, bland now I’ve sucked it all off.”

If you’ve never had this reaction from a cat, you either:

a) don’t own one
b) feed it lots of gravy with only a bit of meat or fish
c) are a miracle maker.

I thought I’d be smart and bought a carton of gravy, which I proceeded to pour liberally over their bowls when they’d licked all the gravy away.  I’ll never forget the looks I got.  I still shrivel in shame at the memory.  I’d thought I’d gotten one over on the furry horde.  Boy, was I mistaken.  I can still remember all those furry bums stalking away…

While we’re on the subject, have you ever tried to give your cats fish or meat out of the tin that has been in the 'fridge for longer than five minutes?  Or, God forbid, a couple of hours?  The way those cats look at you in disbelief?  You know the looks, there are a couple depending on the cats’ feelings at the time.  There’s:

a) the scornful ‘are you kidding’ look
b) the shocked ‘are you kidding’ look?
c) the blatantly abusive ‘ are you *&%$@! kidding?!’ look.

Sure to make any owner start grovelling and begging forgiveness for being such a thoughtless Mum or Dad.

We recently went through a food issue.  Lily and Fleur were at the centre of it (I know, you thought I was going to say Evie, didn’t you?  Ha ha - surprise!).

Lily doesn’t like cold fish from the tin, because it’s been, you know, in the ‘fridge since MORNING (oh grief, the horror of it!) and it’s cold and nasty and she sits on the spot and tried anxiously to tell us how it’s COLD and NASTY and she couldn’t possibly eat it.  Ever.  Not even if she was STARVING.  Apparently it’s that yucky when it’s cold.  And no, she won’t eat the ‘roo meat Granny has put down, either, because she wants warm fish, not ‘roo.  Okay?  Cripes, the things she has to put up with!  And Fleur decides she’s in full agreement, because if Granny breaks open a new tin to give Lily warm fish, then Fleur wants it too, because she does!

Mum always has some sachets of assorted fish for the two little strays who visit us every night for ‘roo and fish, and apparently Lily LOVES this fish, and so does Fleur, so in all my wisdom I detour in to the supermarket on a busy pay day after work, manage to find a parking bay after ten minutes of circling the parking areas and swearing, sweat my way into the narrow spot, fight my way through the shoppers, and buy a basket full of all these yummy sachets of fish in sauces and gravy and prawn jelly and everything.  Teeny tins with yummy stuff swimming in juices.  I then battle my way to the checkout, pay a heap of bucks, manage to pop out of the people-swelled supermarket and find my car, sweat my way backing out of the narrow parking bay (which seems to have got narrower thanks to someone who parked partially over MY LINE!), wait for a million years while traffic holds us up, and finally I get home.  Feeling rather like a cave woman bearing hard-fought-for food, I bring the grocery bags in and the cats ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ as they investigate the bags and give me their purrs of approval.

I’m floating on a cloud of heaven.  I have done it!  I have won the furries' approval!

With avid attention I watch as Mum breaks open the sachets and the cats gorge themselves, burp, thank me and waddle off to find a nice warm place to snooze.  I did it!  I am a God to my cats!

Two nights later it all came crashing down.  Lily is sitting down screaming anxiously that she wants her fish!  Fleur yells she wants what Lily wants!

Me: Didn’t you give them the sachets?
Mum: Yes.
Me: So what’s wrong?
Mum: They don’t want it.
Me: What?  (I’m dumb like that.  You’d think I’d know, right?)
Mum: We’ll just leave it out for them.

I go back inside after awhile and find all of them eating peacefully.

Me: So, they’re enjoying the sachet fish from the cupboard, huh?
Mum: No.  They’re enjoying cold fish from the ‘fridge.
Me: WTHell?
Mum: Don’t look at me.  They yelled until they got the fish from the ‘fridge.
Me: But it’s cold!
Mum: I know.

So now the furries swing between wanting cold fish from the ‘fridge and warm fish from the cupboard, depending on their mood.  I can’t tell their mood.  Mum can’t tell their mood.  NO ONE CAN TELL THEIR FREAKIN’ MOOD!  So we try to mix it up, cold some nights and warm some nights.

Then Lily looks at me: What’s Evie having?
Me: She only eats little tins of meat and fish, not the big tins.
Lily: I want what she’s having.
Fleur: I want what Lily wants!
Lily anxiously: I want! I want! I want!
Fleur: Me too!
Me: OMG!  Okay!  Okay!

And I break open several small tins and the rest of the horde comes in all demanding to have what Lily and Fleur and Evie are having and I give it to them, and some eat it, some look at it in disdain, and all of them lick the gravy and walk off leaving bits of forlorn meat in the dish.

Lily:  So the gravy was great.  Can I have my fish now?
Fleur: I’ll have what she’s having!

…and I call up in a fetal position and start rocking  

As if this wasn’t enough, Evie is such a drama queen with her food. She has her’s on the end of the kitchen bench because she picks and we have to keep her food out but also out of reach of Polly who is allergic to some of it.

Sounds easy, but sometimes your attention is caught by a tiny ‘meow’ and you look over to find Evie dancing on tip-toes as she anxiously looks at you out of HUGE eyes.  I mean huge.  Like saucer-sized.  Accompanying this prancing (I kid you not.  She prances - frantically) - is a lot of verbal anxiety.  “I’ve got nuffin’!  Nuffin’!  Nuffin’ at all or anyfing!”  Prance Prance Prance.  So her biscuit bowl is overflowing but Evie wants one of her tiny tins of food and if she doesn’t get it right now, she is in danger of fading away from hunger, collapsing from starvation, and jittery from anxiety.

So I dig in the pantry for her little tin and she comes over and stares over my head, jumps on my back, lands in the pantry and does some investigating of her own.  Eyes are huge and little feet prance-prance-prance while I dish it out and she hurriedly runs along the bench and meets me.  I put it down - thank God we made it before she perished - she takes five licks, gets gravy up the wall and walks away.  Leaving almost a whole saucer of food.

Lily appears by magic.  ‘I want!  I want!”
Fleur bursts out from the bedroom.  “I want what Lily wants!

I find my foetal position again and start rocking….

                                                    Furry Visitors

So one of my friends and her husband went on a holiday and we babysat her two cats, Skitty & Jeffrey.  They are gorgeous cats, very well-behaved.  Skitty is sweet, loving, and Jeffrey, well, he’s a big, loveable doofus. But they’re both soooo cute!

As expected, their arrival made Evie all goggle-eyed.  I had half a large cupboard piece across the bottom of the security screen door so the cats could smell each other but no one could look through and put the two visitors off using their litter tray.  So what does Evie do?  She freakin' climbs the security screen until she can see through to Skitty and Jeffrey and YELLS at them!  Honest to goodness, that cat has no finesse!  AT ALL!

So we'd block some areas of the house off when the cats were asleep and let the two visitors out for a run and to stretch their legs, and of course, as soon as we did this, Evie would magically wake up and DEMAND TO BE LET IN!  RIGHT NOW! 

When finally we allowed the cats to all mix - and they did so wonderfully - Evie decided she was Boss Cocky and strutted around.  Or tried to.  However, the visitors just eyed her off, so she sulked and started to hover behind doors, peeking over the top of cupboards, pretty much anything she could do to try and unnerve Skitty and Jeffrey.  Now I'm telling you, Jeffrey is huge - paws like saucers, legs like tree trunks, long and tall, like a big, squishy bear, really.  Evie, in all her wisdom, spent his last few days here trying to lord it over him, trying to make him run from her.  If Jeffrey had sat on her, he'd have squashed her flat.   Luckily, he just ambled past her and left her sulking in his fluff (which, because its summer and he's shedding like nobody's business, was everywhere).

I don't know how Evie has managed to remain unscathed through all the visiting cats she's tried to lord it over.  Cripes, she even gets it into her head now and again to try our own cats.  Usually it ends up with her running in the opposite direction, yelling, or scrunched into a ball screaming for Grandma or Aunty Ang or SOMEONE! to rescue her.  That cat never learns… 

Christmas is coming fast, and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas during this Blessed season.  Have a safe and happy one!!  Don't forget your furry little mates - give them lots of cuddles and kisses, be grateful for their paw prints in your life, for they will always be there for you regardless of what you look like or how rich or poor you are.  They love you for you - love them back unconditionally.

Remember, blessings aren't about what you want, but about having what you have received.  Look for the blessings in the small things in life - family, friends, pen pals, the sound of laughter, the bird outside the window, the flowers.  You can find beauty wherever you look, and nature is priceless and free to look at and enjoy.



Friday, September 5, 2014

Drama Queens

I have come to the realisation that I live in a house of furry Drama Queens.  You’d think it would have dawned on me sooner, but I’m one of those who doesn’t actually notice things, I just go with the flow - it’s either that or curl up in a foetal position under the desk and whimper.

Let me give you a few examples of the Drama Queens in our house and what caused it (which really is just one example of the many, many dramas afflicting us at any given time).

Drama Queen No 1.  Abby.

Abby has quite thick, longish fur.  Unfortunately, that also resulted in some rather unattractive and malodorous dags forming near her bum.  Now, Mum and I could have cut them off her in about twenty seconds.  One dag each side (and I’m not talking about us).  But did this happen?  I think you know the answer.

Picture it - Mum holding Abby, me with a tiny pair of scissors and Abby glaring at me.  I did a tentative snip, cooing “Who’s a good girl, den, huh?  Who’s a sweet widdle pumpkin?  Now hold still….hold still…stop…Don’t… DON’T… HOLD STILL.  HOLD THE FREAKIN’ &%$@! STILL!”

Meanwhile, Mum’s gone from, “There’s a good girl.  Abby’s a good girl isn’t she?  Don’t struggle, dear.  Don’t struggle   Hold still.  Hold STILL!  DON’T - OUCH!  SHE’S BITING!”

Within seconds the calm, controlled situation has deteriorated very rapidly into a knock-down, drag-out fight between Mum, me and Abby.

Abby wins.

While she’s stalking away, tail lashing, dags blowing in the breezing, I’m yelling after her, “Right.  RIGHT!  You want it that way?  RIGHT!  You’re off to the vet for a sedation and a fanny shave! What do you think of that, huh?”

The cat practically tossed her head.

So next day, off we go, Abby sitting upright in her cage casting me side-long looks and me trying not to feel like a heel for taking the baby to the vet.  We’re almost there when she starts crying and now I feel like a total turd.  “I’m sorry, baby, but you wouldn’t let us help you.  You can’t go around with those dags hanging off your a**e, it’s both unattractive and attracts flies, making it only attractive to flies ha-ha.”  But my feeble attempt at humour isn’t working - for either of us.

When I got home, Mum had already picked her up from the vet and now Abby is avoiding me.  I try to win her affections back but she’s not having any of it.  Plonking herself in the middle of the floor, she shoots one back leg into the air and screams “My bum is bare!”

Me: Well, yes.  Yes, it is.
Abby: How could you do this to me?
Me: You gave me no choice.
Abby: My bum is bare!
Me: I can see that.  In fact, everyone can see it with your leg up in the air like that.
Abby: My bare bum has to sit on the floor and it is now a cold bum as well as bare!
Me: I can see that would be uncomfortable for you.  Why don’t you park your bare behind on the sofa instead?
Abby: My bum is bare!
Evie (looking over the edge of the table): Holy crap!  Her a**e is naked!
Me: You’re not helping matters.
Evie: Yeah, but did you see her a**e?  My eyes hurt!
Me: Well stop looking at it then.
Evie: I can’t help it - the sunshine is bouncing off it!

Don’t ever count on Evie to calm things down.

Eventually Abby flopped her leg down and sulked off to the sofa.  It took her two days to forgive me.

Drama Queen No 2.  Theo

Theo is normally the quiet, controlled one of the family.  He cruises around, jumping a couple of the furry lovelies he fancies and generally being quite agreeable.

Until it’s time for his tablet.

Theo hates his tablet, he thinks it takes away his manhood to which he’s entitled.  He was sterilised at 6 months of age, but when he hit 4 yrs old he changed and became rather aggressive to the other cats, decided he was Casanova even without his family jewels, and also started spraying like his doodle was a fire hose out of control.  Actually, it was out of control.  It took a long time to get it back under control and his daily tablet helps keep him calm and in control.

Apparently the tablet tastes like crap.  If I don’t get it down him first pop, the drama starts.  In fact, it starts as soon as he sees me coming.  He commences Operation Stealth which involves hiding under anything he can find, but when you’re a big, strapping, silver tabby, it’s kind of hard to avoid being seen.

So I trap him, prise his mouth open and put the tablet in.  Now the drama starts.  It starts quite small - a shake of the head, a grimace, and then it appears…a little drool.

This little drool starts to accumulate at an alarming rate, gushing out of his mouth in no time.  He starts running around from one end of the house to another with this long rope of drool hanging from his mouth and growing longer by the second.  It’s like watching a miniature St Bernard going nuts.

I’m following behind with a rag, wiping up the swamps he leaves behind.  I follow him through the house.

Theo: Argh!  I’m poisoned!
Me: Don’t be silly, it’s just your medicine.
Theo:  Help me!  Help me!  *drooldrooldrool*
Me: Don’t go on the sofa!
Theo: I’m dying!  *gag*
Me: Just stop it. *wipe wipe wipe*
Theo: It’s following me!  OMG - the taste is in my mouth!  It’s saturating me!
Me: No, that’s the floor being saturated by YOUR drool.

Theo decides to sit down and start grinding his teeth, whiskers and cheeks screwed up like a rabid squirrel, teeth showing, practically all gums, nose screwed up and eyes squinted shut.   “Yuckyuckyuckyuckyuck.”

By the time he’s finished I’ve practically mopped the whole house.

Drama Queen No. 3 Fleur

Fleur is a tortoiseshell with a typical torti nature.  You never know which way she’s going to go.  During the day I can’t touch her.  She’s horrified, backing away and darting out the door to scurry down the tunnel away from the Big Witch Who Will Eat Me.

Yet practically every day at lunchtime she comes mincing around the corner of the kitchen bench and looks coyly up at me.  “I’m hungry.”

Me: Oh, aren’t you sweet.  Does diddums want some yummies?
Fleur: eyeballs me a little nervously.
Me: Here, would you like some fish?
Fleur: No.
Me: Some chicken?
Fleur: Out of a can?  Really?  OUT OF A CAN?
Me: I’m sorry, Your Majesty.  What would you like to tickle your palate?
Fleur - slides a sideways look at Evie:  I’ll have what she’s having.

So I get it out and give it to her.
Now the fun starts.

Fleur is horrified I’m near her: Good grief!  You nearly touched me!
Me: I’m sorry.  I didn’t-
Fleur: What is your intention?  Are you going to hit me?  *prances away, prances back, eyes huge*
Me: Look, I was just trying to pat you-
Fleur:  Don’t touch me!  DON’T TOUCH ME!

By now she’s nearly hysterical and hoons off down the tunnel.

Now, it’s a whole different ball game come night-time.  Fleur parades up and down the back of the sofa looking anxiously at me and crying.  “I want a pat.”
Me: But you didn’t want one earlier.
Fleur: But I want one now.
Me: What, you think I’m a different person?
Fleur: Pat me.  Stroke me.  LOVE ME!

I kid you not, by now she’s demanding it, head butting my arm, trying to wriggle her head beneath my hand.  The panic-stricken cat of just a couple of hours ago is now sticking to me like a burr.  You just can’t win.

This is the same cat that sleeps on the end of my bed every night.

Drama Queen No. 4.  Evie

Yeah, that’s a bit of a shock, isn’t it?

Evie gets over-excited about pretty much everything.  The other night a huge moth appeared on the wall.  I thought Evie’s eyes were going to fall out of her head when she saw it.

Me: It’s a moth, genius.
Evie: It’s going to eat us all!  I have to CATCH IT!  NOW!

I woke up in the morning to find moth streaked all over my bedroom wall.

Evie sleeps with her beloved Granny, but if I have a day off, as soon as Mum goes to work at the school crossing, Evie jumps up on my bed and perches on my hip.  She surveys the world, looks quite smug, and then I want to shift.

The drama starts.

Evie: Oh for - what are you doing?
Me: I have cramp.
Evie: So?
Me: I have to move.

I do the tiniest shuffle to try and ease my hip.

Immediately Evie grabs onto the doona like her life depends on it, eyes huge.  “OMG!  Are you trying to tip me off?
Me: Look, I just shifted less than an inch-
Evie: You think you own this bed or something?
Me: Well, actually-
Evie: Do you not want me on it?

By now she’s gripping the doona and is pressed flat on it.

Me: No, of course not, you’re very welcome-
Me: My hand-
She springs upwards to sit and glare at me through narrowed eyes: Do you have to keep moving?
Me: I’m sorry, I’ll be really still-
Evie:  Too late.  TOO LATE!  You’ve already UPSET ME!

And then I see her backside disappearing around the door to go and wait in the lounge so that she can tell her beloved Granny how mean I am to her when Granny isn’t there.

Drama Queens, the lot of them.

Today topped it.  I had to worm them all.  I’m no fool - I got the spot-on for the strugglers, and tablets for those I knew I could handle.  Now Polly spits at me every time I go near her just in case I give her a second dose of POISON, Lacy is eyeing me warily, and Evie is jitter-bugging around the house like she’s on a pogo stick because SOMEONE PUT POISON ON MY NECK AND I CAN FEEL IT SLITHERING ALL OVER ME!

But the best of all is Fleur.  She’s still lying on my bed with her eyes screwed shut.

Fleur: I can’t see now.
Me: I put it on your neck, not on your face.
Fleur: I can’t see now.
Me: Just open your eyes.
Fleur squints them open a fraction then slams them shut again:  I can’t see now.

Then Mum pulls the car into the driveway and cats scatter.  Fleur is down the tunnel and gone, Evie is waiting anxiously on the table to tell her all about what I did to them (and to nose through the shopping bags), Theo has collapsed in his basket quite exhausted by the whole ordeal, Abby is sitting on the kitchen floor with one leg up in the air saying not only is her bum cold and bare, but there’s something nasty on her neck, too, Polly won’t come in from the back veranda, Lacy is hunkered down on the back table trying to decide whether to spew the tablet up or not, and Lily…well…Lily is the calmest of the lot.  The last I saw of her, she was lying on the little hammock on her back, furry belly up to the sunshine, getting a tan.

Wait, I actually have a cat who isn’t a drama queen.  Break out the trumpets! 
IT’S A MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Today, I’m a Rantin’ Fool

“What the heck…?” I hear you thinking.  “Now what’s she whinging about?”

Well, in a nutshell, the since my last blog, a lot of things have happened.  Some are noteworthy, some aren’t.  But almost everything has had me shaking my head.

Take the new vacuum cleaner.  It looked okay in the shop, it looked innocent as I paced up and down eyeing it off while contemplating the other vacuum cleaners.  It looked fine.  So I bought it and duly carted it home.

Now let me tell you something.  Since when does a vacuum cleaner have more parts than the Starship Enterprise?  There were three different kinds of brushes, a flat thingy-um-a-bobby, a narrow doo-hickey, and something I still can’t figure out what it is.

But what really got up my nose?  Do you really want to know?  REALLY?  Well, you asked for it!

Since when does a vacuum cleaner have a container that freakin’ sorts out the dust from the dirt?  What vacuum cleaner does that, I ask you?  I kid you not, this freakin’ vacuum cleaner sorts the dirt from the fluff and puts it in two separate containers.  Maybe it thinks I want to know  how much dust vs. how much fluff I vacuum up?  Maybe it doesn’t like to mix it?  Maybe it thinks mixing dirt and fluff is tacky or something?  I don’t know!  But what makes me boil my brain until my rocker is ready to fly off, is that the freakin’ containers are tiny.  TINY!  To add insult to injury, I have to keep turning off the vacuum cleaner to empty these two dinky containers!  ARGH!!!!!

And then there’s this cooker thingy I saw on TV and everyone was gushing about.  I don’t know what it’s called, I don’t want to know.  I could care less.  You know why?  Because in my experience, the more it ‘supposedly’ does, the more work it is.  

Want a fancy machine to chop, dice, and shred?  Set the machine up, peel your veggies, you might even (horrors) have to cut the veggies or meat to size, then you put it in and press some buttons and hey boy!  It’s all done.  Then you can take it out, scrape the crap off the sides and now guess what?  Now you can spend three hours taking the useless thing apart and cleaning it, drying it and packing it away. 

By the time you’ve done that, I’ve got my cutting board, shredder, veggie peeler and knife out, and have peeled, cut, diced, shredded, cooked, cleaned up and have a fifty course meal on the table.  What, you think I’m exaggerating?  Let me explain a bit more.

There was this handy clear box thing with all these parts that slid in at the top where, apparently, you could cut, shred, dice, etc.  All kinds of veggies, too.  Want chips?  Just pop a whole spud in the top, press down lightly with your hand and presto!  Chips!  Want tomatoes diced?  Put it in the top, change the plate, press lightly down and presto!  Diced tomatoes.  This demonstration went on and on.

People, really.  REALLY?  Have you ever tried to pop a whole spud into anything and ‘lightly’ pressed something down by hand?  Any normal person would be white knuckled and sore-heeled just trying.  The tomatoes would squish all over the place and come on!  You have to change all those tops and then what?  WASH THEM ALL!!!!

Give me a veggie board, hand shredder, veggie peeler and knife and I’ll cut, chop, chip, dice and shred until your eyes bleed.

Don’t even get me started on the juicers with their fancy fifty parts to apparently make life easier.  What’s easier than a knife and a hand juicer you just twirl your half a lemon/orange on?  Ye gods, people!

And what is it with DVD players these days?  My DVD player tells me what to do, and if I try to hurry it up, it chucks a paddy.  I turn on the power, press the button, and it tells me to wait.  TELLS me to wait!  Then it thinks about life in general, mulls over the options.  While it deliberates, you can go have a shower, make a cuppa and then, if you’re lucky, it is ready to go.

My old DVD player - you just flicked the power button on, loaded up the disc and pressed play.  Instant picture!

This desktop I have, with the touch screen I don’t use (but Evie likes to nose and lean against so it does things to me.  I once found a program I didn't even know I had thanks to Evie and her nose touching screen trick), it drives me nuts.  My old computers - just press the on button and within no time it was there, like a faithful old dog, just waiting to obey you.  Do the new ones do that?  No!  No, this is what they do…and I’m speaking from freakin’ personal experience AGAIN.

The friggin’ computer thinks about it, ponders, slowly cranks up its million and one parts.  If you’re really lucky, it’ll decide an automatic update is due which takes days.  (You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?  Have you met my desktop?)  It gives me this little round turning gizmo on the screen that tells me to WAIT.  Friggin’ waiting again!  By the time it finally comes on, I’ve gone to work and back, mopped the house, done a load of laundry and watered the pot plants.

I’m telling you, the more tech savvy everything gets, the more time consuming and frustrating it gets.  Forget road rage, tech rage is what I have.

Getting off technology (before I stroke out), let me tell you a short story about my few minutes in the car park the other day.  I think birds are out to get me, too.

I was going to the bank and saw this little bird (I think it might have been a baby mud lark), sitting under a car staring around.  It didn’t move as I went past it, so, of course, this rang alarm bells.  So, crouched over, arms forward, I started to try and catch this bird.  Ever done a kind of duck waddle, knees bent and arms outstretched, going round and round a freakin’ car?  I did this.  After it disappeared under a car where I couldn’t reach it, I gave up and went to the bank.  On the way back, there it was, standing at the back of a car staring around.  So what did I do?  You guessed it.  The duck walk again.  Stalking this feathered fiend from car to car.  It kept just out of arms reach.  To make it worse, it then decided to walk ACROSS the car park to the next one, and there I am, duck walking behind it, knees bent, big derriere sticking out behind me, arms outstretched, waddling along the car park into a new section.  Did I catch it after that humiliating experience?  No.  It disappeared under a car, and there was no way I could get it.  I had to finally concede defeat and give up.  I did, however notice that a lot of people were giving me strange looks and a wide berth.

Geez, what’s wrong with them?  Haven’t they seen a hefty sheila doing the duck walk after a baby bird?!