Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spring cleaning in the summer time....

When we got back from the river, I came back to my beloved garden.

Poor thing. Harsh northerly winds, hot weather and little water didn't do it much good. Unfortunately I lost a couple of plants, but in the big scheme of things, I did well.

Of an evening, I am cleaning up a garden bed at a time. Turning the mulch, weeding, feeding plants and clipping off the dead bits. So far it is turning out really well - although G wouldn't be able to tell you what I'd done; just that it looks much neater.

Our decking and the entire sideway look much better; it's downwards to the big part of the backyard this weekend. We're meant to have rain, but considering it's usually little less than a spit, I'll not worry too much about what the weatherman predicts.

Rileys specialist appointment: As I have probably mentioned, R has grommets. Well, did have grommets. One fell out just before Christmas, and one fell out over christmas. The poor boy has lost his great hearing and boy is his behaviour telling!! The specialist wants another audiologist report before he puts them back in which hacks me off a tad - I mean, I know he can't hear. It's not hard to see that he can't hear. Put the ruddy things back in and watch him take off again.

But no.....we can't do that. We need to go through all sorts of red tape before we do that - and I have private health insurance!!! I'd HATE to be public right about now!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A year ago today....

This darling boy was put to sleep.

G and I, when we decided to get a dog, had decided on one, already docked, cocker spaniel. I had big issues with the docking, and there was no way on this earth would I have ever considered it. G was adamant they needed doing; so my compromise was; we get a dog whose tail has already been horribly chopped off.

Then we met Harvey & Arnold.

Arnold was the only black puppy in the litter. He was such a friendly puppy, kept throwing himself at us; it was impossible to not love him. So, what was one dog that had a docked tail, became 2 that had tails.

Obviously, I fell in love. They adored each other; couldn't be without each other. We couldn't even walk them on the other sides of the road without them crying for the other. Arnold was far more independant, but he still needed his brother.

As they grew older, their individual personalities shone through. I often said that it was very difficult to believe that they came from the same litter; so different were their looks and their temprements.

Arnold was a very independant dog who lived for us. If someone was coming down the drive, he'd let us know. He was happiest sitting beside you getting a scratch.

He wasn't really a kids dog; you could tell he thought they were loose cannons. He'd sit under the table when R was getting particularly loud, or went for the safety of his bed.

At the river, he'd come into his own. A true water dog; spent hours in the water. Whereas his brother had to be carried in when it was 40 degrees.

The problem with Arnold wasn't one *big* problem; it was a continuation of many many little problems.

No matter how close we shaved him, no matter what we did; Arnold would always get grass seeds. Not just the kind that annoyed and then got themselves out; but the kind that needed surgery. After he'd died, I went through his medical history (well, vet bills in his folder) - 27 grass seeds. So, at least 20 rounds of surgery. We desexed him and microchipped him while he was in there for a grass seed. His brother, on the other hand, who followed him everywhere; never had a one. "what an unlucky dog!!!" the vet said once.

Arnolds next big problem was kidney stones. He had ruptured his entire penis, which had to be rebuilt. It turned out that Cocker spaniels were prone to kidney stones, and if he'd been a girl, he'd have probably just passed them through no problems. But, of course he was a boy. 3 rounds of surgery, and an awful lot of pain later; my darling boy was back on his feet.

A couple of years after that (with grass seeds in between of course), I took Arnold to the vet because he wasn't eating. For him to not eat was like the world ending - he always inhaled his food. After X-rays etc, it was disovered that he'd eaten a banksia husk. It had lodged and started to turn his intestines and stomach septic.

So, 75% of his stomach and 90% of his intestines were removed. And the husk. He'd never eat anything interesting again, but he was alive, happy and, most importantly, well.

Life continued again, including the grass seeds. Christmas last year, we noticed him limping. Another grass seed. But, after a couple of days, he was fine again, so we thought we'd gotten off lucky.

A few weeks after that, Arnold starting limping again. Only, it wasn't just one leg; it was all four. It was quite bizarre to watch him walk - so after checking that there were no swollen points (grass seeds) etc, we took him up to the vet in astonishment.

The vet found his toenails were painfully dropping off. And, in our decking, it was hurting him more when they did fall off; because they were being ripped off.

The vet suggested she keep him to do a few tests on him. Ok we said.

That afternoon the vet called; Arnold was ready to be picked up.

"He has a disease called SLO" She said. Basically, that meant that his immune system was starting to attack him. Eventually, kill him. She showed me where it had started attacking the ears, eyes and feet.

She gave us the option of having intensive chemotherapy for 3 days a week with a hope of fighting it. Or, we could put him down. It was our option.

So we took him home and, after the kids went to bed, sat down with hoppy and asked him. His eyes told me that to keep him, would be selfish on my part. He'd had enough of vets and blood tests and surgery and medication - he was only 7 years old.

So, I made my decision. My parents came and picked up the kids, and I said a long goodbye to my darling boy. I couldn't bear to take him up to the vet (although now I wish I had), so my husband did.

It was the worst day I can remember. It still hurts, although it's no longer so raw.

I love you Hoppity kick and I always will.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Music. What does it mean to you???

Music. It's one of my favorite things. When people ask me what sort of music I like, I couldn't tell them. It's everything and nothing, all at the same time. It's not so much a calibre of music as such; but individual songs; and their potential to make me feel something.

In my Ipod right now I have the following;
Alainis Morrisette, The Cure, Black eyed Peas, The Kinks, Michael Buble, eminem, All Saints, Tori Amos, Fergie (gulp!!), John Butler Trio, Kylie Minogue, Sandi Thom, the Frey, Limp Bizkit & a song from the Titanic soundtrack...... obviously my music tastes waver somewhat.

But. In my music travels (just searching for songs that I've forgotten about), there is one particular song that, at the minute, makes me tear up. It is a clearly defined *sliding doors* song - and to imagine where I could've been had I done A, B or C and my feelings towards everything at the time; honestly the song leaves me breathless.

This is what music is to me. Emotion.

And at the moment, I heart Michael Buble - what a sweety!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I wonder how many words this is.....

I have so much to put down here - but I shall attempt to refrain. Instead, I will put most of the best bits here. Suffice to say, our Christmas break was fantabulous and I hope everyones was as great as ours was.

Christmas day.
Kids had a BALL. The terror was beside himself - he couldn't work out what all the fuss was about right up until Christmas morning. He knew something was up; and he even sat on Santas knee. But it all clicked in Christmas morning.

The boy got a bike:

The kids had an absolute ball, and trundled into bed, tired, happy, full as eggs, and all Christmassed out.

The farm. Talk about an ace week. Well, except for two of my sisters in law. I am a pretty laid back kind of person, but the way these people behaved in someone elses house was disgusting. I was vile over it. There were 18 people in that house for 10 days. Those two lazy sods did absolutely NOTHING but whinge. Not a dish, not a meal, not a knife to a carrot. Nothing. Not for themselves, not for anyone else; not even for their own children.

But, on the plus side, they stayed inside and whinged together; the rest of us had a ball outside in the glorious weather. Swimming in the dam, catching yabbies, riding the bikes etc - we all had a great time. My BIL has a new lady in his life (finally!!) and she is simply wonderful. I couldn't pick a better woman for him if I tried. After everything he's been through over the last 5 years, he deserves M. And it is a plus that the entire family love her too!!!

From there, I came back to work for three days, leaving the kids and G living the life at the farm. Yay for work; but whilst down here, I organised our annual camping trip. In the middle of nowhere, for a week, with us and the kids. Another family come with us too - and they are THE most lovely people.

This was our campsite:

and our front yard for the duration of our stay:

Again, another ball was had. Just the simplicity of it, the serenity of it - and the true beauty of it. Every morning, we'd wake for nothing but the galahs screeching overhead, and the sun peeking over the hill, down the river. The days were long, but they were grand. There is NOTHING in this world more enjoyable, in my opinion, than going proper camping with people you adore. The week was one that, yet again, I will treasure. We all left there vowing (yet again!!) to do it more often - but I think we will make a special effort this year.

On coming home, we kicked straight back into the scheme of things. We all missed being at home, but it was nice to get back to normal. Tomorrow is Friday and I *think* I'm just about on top of the 8 ball. Except for my garden.

It's a bit sad at the minute. Obviously being away has caused it some heartache, but it actually turned out better than I had thought. Only a couple of things passed away; but they were on their way out anyway. So, it's just a big clean up of all the northerly winds work for me. It's giving me a chance to clean out all the garden beds, add some saturaid and turn over all the mulch at the same time - sort of like "spring cleaning the garden" if you will.

I got a fair load of tomatoes tonight from my vines - I have a photo all taken to show you, but the camera is out of batteries. So, tomorrow, I shall show you my rewards for all my work over the summer.

I'm going to start looking at winter vegies soon too. I am finding gardening an awful lot of fun - and I feel like I am contributing something to making this world a better place.

Anyway. Onto my goals for 2008.

1. Be more open. I shut myself off so well and so easily - often to my own detriment. Being shy comes across so easily as being elusive - and it really concerns me to think people may think I am elusive or snobby.

2. Committ more time to friendships. I am horribly guilty of not maintaining friendships. I think that shutting myself off has something to do with it in the sense that I can't talk to anyone until my world is ending IYKWIM. I can't say "hey look, I'm sliding down this hill, wanna grab me a rope?" I tend to be more "hey look, I've fallen in this hole, the water is up to my nostrils and is rising fast - wanna give me a hand??" I will give the world to anyone - but I also must realise that in order to be the friend I want to be - I have to HAVE the friends too. Like a give and a take. I'd personally feel uncomfortable if I were continuously opening up to someone, only for them to not say a damn thing about themselves.

3. Simplify. Everything. My life, my weight, my reaosns for being. Everything.

4. Recycle more. Reuse more. At work, at home, in the car; life in general.

5. Communicate more. In verbal, written - whatever. Just get it all down and out.

I bet you wished that I hadn't come back now!!!! :)