Please… A plea from the Heart

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I know I personally don’t like to sign up to anything online that wants my email address. But The Petition Site has proven to me that they don’t sell my address over the years I’ve used it. You also can opt out of posting your name publicly.

So please – if you are reluctant to sign an online petition for those reasons, change your mind for this? “Stop killing stray dogs/cats and initiate a humane Stray Animal Management in Bar, Montenegro

One of the first blogs I ever followed and had follow me in return was all about a simply stunning Oriental Shorthair named Osyaka. In the years that we have been blog buddies, I have come to call her a friend.

However, what she does when not taking stunning photos of her beautiful cat is heart-wrenchingly hard. Hard to read about, hard to see, and hard on her mentally, financially and physically.

My friend has a mission to help the cats of Montenegro, where she lives. It is a beautiful place, a member of the UN and an applicant to the European Union, with a harsh history of war and has only been independent since 2006. Montenegro is putting a lot of effort into to be a tourist destination and has had good success.

However, they aren’t taking care of their animals. Stray dogs and cats roam the streets. The dogs are roaming in packs and killing the stray cats. There are no shelters. Worst of all, the animals that don’t die by other means are being poisoned secretly without any interference by – and possibly the support of – the authorities.

Visit my friend’s blog here: The Cats of Montenegro Not updated recently, there are still enough photos and stories there to break your heart. Her Facebook page and Twitter have a lot of updates.

Please sign, please share. No one is listening unless we shout loud.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/737/955/372/?taf_id=13820749&cid=fb_na#

 Dog pack running wild in Bar, Montenegro. 

  Moosia, who has a tumour and is getting surgery but will be back on the streets if no one adopts her.

  He used to have two eyes, before he got sick. 

May Showers…and Showers…

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‘April showers bring May flowers’, me arse. What April did was get all kindsa crazy hot for over a week, and make my plants go beserkers with the growing.

May, the aul’ bitch, came along with nothing but heavy wind, rain and hail. The wind has been the killer – all the formerly insanely happy but very tender new growth has been beaten to hell – against walls, other plants, or snapped off by the gusts. I’ve probably lost a hundred raspberry fruit buds, the roses look like shit, and my poor from-seed lilac is even shorter than it was in April.

Dammit.

I do have growth. I hope it will be stronger for weathering a May of bluster.

 The tigridia is coming up! Not just here, where 3-year old plants are coming back, but the ones from seed last year are looking about the same. Yay! Love these damn things.

Some of the new lilies are above ground, too!

 I already forget which ones I planted in this pot. Oops! The blue things are slug-pellets. Sadly a necessity here if you grow from seed. I don’t have squirrels, or deer, or manical plant-killing peacocks; I have slugs by the billion.
 Strawberries are looking great, even if they are useless weeds to me at this point. I keep looking for strawberry half-pots I can hang on the wall of my shed, but so far no luck.
 I rue the day I started these violas from seed. Little shits are everywhere now. On the plus side, I aparently can also grow hostas from seed. They are also kind of everywhere, but only within the area the hostas actually were planted. Except for this one, and another, which I stuck in a pot last year because I wasn’t sure they were actually hostas. They are. 

 We bought these right before Halloween, and left them out front in this tiny-ass seedling tray all winter. The purple ones were more black, and the Orange ones were more orange back in 2014. But hey, they are still alive so I might finally make them a home this year. Oh, they were infested with insects so that is why I didn’t plant them out. Think I’ve killed all the wee bugs now, though.

And yah, I cannot wait to get the pressure washer out and get rid of all the yuck on my house and pots! I love to pressure-wash. Best invention ever for someone who adores making old shit look new again! Therapy of a sort. 

 My only proper flowers right now – the columbine (aquilegia) from last year. The plant overwintered, and left me about a half-dozen babies in other plants nearby – which I dug out and repotted, of course. I don’t remember columbine overwintering when I lived in Ohio, but I’m assuming they do, now, and also require a cold season for the seeds to germinate.

One tiny sweet William blooming in the background, too. Also rather rue the day I planted them. Smell lovely but unless you deadhead the crap out of them they seed everywhere. Going to start calling them the Duggar plant!

Caped Madness in Ireland

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I’m not one for sharing other’s blogs, usually – but this is such a well-written, funny, and disturbing post that it has be spread far and wide.

Father Ted meets Monty Python as Brother Dougal hits Limerick in the fight against the evil gays.

It couldn’t get any more surreal than this, folks. Or could it?

 Photo copyright Bock The Robber.

Gay marriage does not hurt kids, married straight people, or attack the defininition of marriage. It is merely giving the same legal rights to every couple who want to spend their lives together. I’m baffled that this is a thing that is currently illegal. 
It sure isn’t super.

(go read the post, seriously!)

Acrachnid and Vinyl-Scratcher Get Hitched

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Thanks, all, for being interested in my courtship story and asking for the wedding tale! Knowing me as well as you do, you probably already know that we didn’t have a traditional ceremony.

We got married in Cleveland, rather than Ireland. It made tons of sense to do it in the States. Biggest reason is that I’m not Catholic, and it was dammed difficult to have a secular ceremony in Eire. Especially with his family pushing for a big church do! Money was the other deciding factor – the Cuyahoga County Courthouse only needed $20 and a day’s notice. We wanted easy and simple, because nothing else involved in importing me to Ireland was going to be easy, simple, or cheap.

Being as we were only engaged from Dec 31 to April 22 of the same year (unheard of in Ireland), not many people from iDJ’s home could come over. We didn’t have anyone who was older than us by more than a few years, which was actually quite wonderful (sorry, family). It meant no pressure to do anything but what we wanted, and it meant a lot of fun could be had without having any worries of upsetting or inconveniencing anyone. Of course it would have been nice to have my dad and his mam there, but we did give awfully short notice.

Himself took me shopping and helped me pick a dress from a department store, along with shoes and a useless wee handbag. The shop assistant was fantastic, she spent hours with us and I think she had a great time helping us, as she was fun and funny. The dress did turn out to be white, by the way. White wasn’t on purpose, but it suited. 

The lads that came from Ireland (all men) are his best mates from childhood, and I’d met them all on my visit. I had loads of friends in Cleveland, and my sister and my best friend came in from out of town. All of the ones who travelled came out drinking and dancing the night before, and it was fantastic. I think the Irish lads drank at least one pub dry. There were only three of them – never underestimate how much an Irishman can drink, especially when it is happy hour and they have never heard of happy hour before!

This is also when we learned that getting a taxi in Cleveland is nigh on impossible. So the best man, somehow, found a service that would be on call for us for a few days – turned out it was the same service LeBron James used. These guys were amazing, turned up in seconds and loved the craic with the lads. Saved us, that idea – and we even took one of the drivers through a McDonald’s drive through (against the rules) and bought him a late dinner.

The morning of is a bit of a blur. I had a coworker come to my apartment to do my hair and makeup (she sold Mary Kay). It felt like there were people everywhere and everyone was in a rush. Our time for the courthouse was 10:30, I believe.

We rolled into court looking like a proper wedding party: suits, flowers, white dress and all. A good number of my local friends came, too. Ready to go!

And we waited…and waited… our time-slot came and went and went again, as more and more couples got married. One man came out and shouted to those waiting, “Y’all didn’t see me here! This never happened!” 

Being good natured to a body, we were patient if grumbling a bit. The best man had a long chat with a man who had driven across the USA just to bail out his friend. Never underestimate how much an Irishman can talk!

Finally there seemed to be no one left but us, but we were still waiting. A bit strange…

When we were called in, we found out why there had been a wait. The room, while still a small courtroom, had been decked with tulle and and the judge told us she had seen where Himself was from, and had prepared (and read) an Irish poem for us. I was astounded – pretty sure the couples in sweatpants and tee-shirts didn’t get such special treatment. They must have seen us out there waiting and made a special effort, and wow was it appreciated.

I bawled like a child when it was official – all I remember saying is, “I didn’t think it was going to actually happen!”

After the ceremony, we went to a gorgeous restaurant for brunch – it has a lovely greenhouse-like room full of plants, where we took loads of photos. We insisted on paying for the meal, as no one there had to come to a boring old courthouse wedding – our thank you for coming (and waiting).

Next we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is in Cleveland as it should be. Spent a good few hours in there wandering around and getting told to put my heels back on by the staff. I’m afraid I didn’t comply – me and heels don’t get along! I’m sure the champagne at brunch didn’t hurt, either. I wanted to show off my adopted city’s attractions to the lads, of course – not many Irish choose Cleveland as a tourist destination, but it is a dammed fine place (lack of taxis notwithstanding).

After that, we had about an hour or so to settle and get ready for the party, so we split up back to our hotels or apartments. My hair by this time was no longer very curly, but I don’t own a curler so it just had to suffer.

The reception was in my friends’ pub in Lakewood, and my boss surprised us with a beautiful cake (I’d said I wasn’t going to bother). The DJ was iDJ – he had made several CD’s (which we intentionally left behind, and they were played often afterward). We danced around the pool table which was covered in plywood and a tablecloth and then huge amounts of pizza (and the cake!) and I ruined my dress with Guinness stains from the floor – because it was a long dress, and I was of course barefoot again. The Irish lads were a bit baffled by my very geeky and nerdy friends, whom I miss loads because being geeky and nerdy isn’t a common Irish trait.

The booze and food was also on us – we didn’t believe in making people pay for our wedding, even if it was cheap and cheerful. We didn’t do invites, and asked for presence, not presents.  At the end of the night we went to pay the tab, only to find it was about $200. We were thrilled that we had such a great night so inexpensively, and put it down to amazingly good prices and maybe a friend discount.

Years later I found out that my wonderful geeky friends had been sneakily putting money into the tab as they left – and not a single one told us they did so. 

I couldn’t have had a better wedding day.

Spiders and iDJ, Sittin’ in a Tree

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K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

I couldn’t resist using that childhood teasing rhyme, because it is rather perfect for the story I am about to tell.

It has come to my attention that I have never shared the story of how Spiders came to be living in a tiny town in the west of Ireland with the wonderful iDJ. Since we just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, perhaps it is past time, or a titch late? Well, I do have a shitty sense of time, and it feels like a few weeks ago rather than 10 years.

We met online. Usually people in Ireland express amazement at this, but it seems perfectly natural for us, being geeky and all. 
I had been having poor luck finding anyone online to date in Cleveland, Ohio. When I met a man in person it did not go well (a man my dog decided was dangerous and physically put himself inbetween us, and an intelligent long-haired redhead who in person was super-critical of me from my appearance to my interests). I decided to move my search parameters to encompass the country that my father loved so much – Ireland. It was mostly a lark, to me – maybe something would come of it, maybe not – but I’d meet some Irish lads either way! My mindset was: sure, I’d import one or export myself if love was found: but I expected it to take years. 

Without even a photo of me uploaded yet, I had hits. Very disappointing hits. A cocaine fiend, a man who seemed to hate me because of my nationality (why talk to me, then?). Considering this was in 2004, and it actually took effort for someone to talk to a strange woman 3,000 miles away – why be an ass? 

I can’t actually recall iDJ’s first communique. He contacted me first, despite not seeing a picture of me, carefully chosen and whatnot, like you do. He had a photo up, however. One of my first comments was ‘shame your hair isn’t longer’.

His response? ‘It is!’

And that started us off: a mutual agreement that men should have long hair if they can.

He first came to see me in Cleveland in July 2004. We were mostly in love by then, even with all the terrible-connection Skype calls (he still had dial up, I was on satellite) and plain old phone calls we had shared. He was such a romantic soul, and passionate about his interests (music and photography especially). We both agreed that if there wasn’t a ‘spark’ when we met in person, then we would at least have a very good friendship.

We did have the spark, right there and then in the airport parking garage. I think we added another hour to the parking fee by making out while leaning against the back bumper of my Firebird. 

Even better, once I got him home my good boy Spot jumped straight into his arms, and my very good dog Shade (RIP) didn’t try to insinuate his huge body between ours like that other jerk. I do trust my furry ones to be a good judge of character.

They were right, too. iDJ came to see me in Ohio again in October, and I went to meet him and most of his friends and family in Mayo in late December ’04/January 2005. He asked me to marry him on New Year’s Eve day, at the top of ‘our’ mountain, which we can see from our house to this day.

Going back to Ohio without him was hard.

The next time we met in person, we got married. The wedding itself is a whole other tale!

Ten years on, we haven’t killed each other, still kiss each other goodbye every time one of us leaves the house, and his hair? Down to his arse and still growing.

A Galaxy of Growing

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I’m going to experiment. I know a lot of you have been having issues with WordPress. The only problem I’ve had, using the app on my iPad, is that when I save a post to finish later, the date is totally wonky. I’ve done a few updates since last I tried to save a post, so we will see if it behaves or misbehaves.

It is officially spring because I have my rainbow toes back!  Might be actually our first and only Irish summer – it’s been very sunny and dry, but annoyingly windy. 

I don’t have blooms on anything but dandelions at the moment, but the lilies out back have gotten a lot larger since I last shared a picture.

March 6…

Today! I tried to take the same pic from the same angle… As you can see, they have gotten away from me very fast!

Whoa, where did all that come from?

 Gorgeous from above! Eventually they will be nearly as tall as I am, which is 5ft8in or almost 173cm, so I won’t get many more chances to take pictures from above.

Of course, I have bought more plants. Because, you know, you can never have enough! (Dammit, the app just crashed. Now if it goes all weird I won’t know exactly why.)

 

“Toad lilies”. Aren’t they the coolest? Little Babylon 5 spaceships. I’ve planted these inbetween my hostas, and they are coming up the tiniest bit. I’m very excited about them.

Also bought some new lilies.

 

 And some more of the same ones I already have. The peace rose was €1.99. I couldn’t resist. As to the pixels mix – I have a bunch of the dark red ones but SFA of the other colours, so I’m hoping I have something new anyway.

 

 Another new plant – zantedeschia rehmanni – wish it luck! I have to stop going to Aldi, I go a bit crazy.

 

Seed-wise, I’m starting both of these again. I didn’t get any zinnia last year. I also never shared pictures of the godetia, even though it lasted all the winter in bloom before it croaked.

 

 I also uprooted my daisy-like weeds and am growing shasta daisies for iDJ instead. A new type of rudbeckia, too.

 

Three more new ones – iDJ wanted the nicotania and the odd-looking gazania. I am desperate for Gerbera daisies – they cost so much as an established plant that I was thrilled to get them as seeds.

 I think that is enough for now! 

Forgot to Title… Meh.

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I’m currently fighting for space in front of the fire with the two boys. I can’t get a picture as it is too dark, but Lokii is jammed between my thighs and Spot is making sure that I cannot stretch my legs.

Oh wait, iDJ just came in and I got him to take a pic of us. This is live-blogging, folks!

 

He Himself has recently brought to the house his old electric guitar, and bought a small amplifier. He was just playing, and I tried to get a pic but he stopped too soon. He is going to figure out how to hook up a microphone to the amp so I can sing while he plays. This is something I’ve wanted us to do together for a very long time!

 

An earlier, ‘action shot’ of Lokii when he was doing his stretching exercises. Along with my feet still in winter indoor booties and the dog bed (brown thing with green fluff) that Lokii is entirely responsible for chewing up. Little shithead.

I think our robins have abandoned the hose-reel nest. They weren’t expecting us to be outside so much, or throwing smoke in their faces every weekend when we grill. iDJ just loves to grill.

 

Not taken tonight: this was last weekend. But since I have shared kitty pics, I must include a doggie pic of Neko looking so sad that she can’t have BBQ. Tonight we are having sausages, drumsticks, and my homemade hamburgers. Maybe an ear of corn for me, if I get up away from the lovely fire and open the oh-so-difficult package of Spanish corn for him. *snark*

Back to the birds – we bought them dried mealworms. Because, supposedly, robins love them. I opened the package and they smelled really good. So I ate one. On purpose, and all. It actually wasn’t bad – like popcorn without butter and salt. Nicely crunchy, a slight taste of fat. So maybe they just need warming, and salt.

It didn’t bother me to eat one, as mealworms don’t have legs or a distinctive head. Does that even make sense? Maybe I’ve just been reading too much about alternatives to protein in our diets and wanted to give it a go. Seriously, it wasn’t disgusting at all.