Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lob it over me, boss

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Okay, I want to do a real post, but I can’t really concentrate at the moment to line up pics and talk about them. But I feel like I haven’t posted in days – and I haven’t – so I have to do something anything.

It so happens I do have ‘something, anything’, and it’s friggin’ adorable.

Yep, it’s the boys being cute again!

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I should probably explain all the mess. Photo location- inches away from the sliding glass door (to the right, in the photos). The boys are in the dog’s bed: it gets sunny and warm there occasionally.

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That corner is also where their ‘thrones’ are – also known as litter boxes, but these are massive with pillows on top for them to sleep on, and catch the sun at the right time of day. So, there’s a bit of litter scattered in the dog bed. Meh. Cats are clean, just not neat.

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The blue thingie behind Lokii is the little cardboard zip-strip from a new box of aluminium foil. Spot loves them, so I gave it to him as a toy and hasn’t quite yet (or yet-yet, it’s still there) thrown it away when he got bored.

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But who cares about some random mess when you have a Siamese using a Bengal as a chin-rest?

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A Small Favour to Ask

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Hello, kind friends. I would like to ask a favour of you – just of some of you – just the ones who have been hanging around reading my blog for a year or more.

You stalwart readers know all about my best friend, Socks. I blogged about her pregnancy for … well, about nine months, give or take. It was a helluva ride for all, especially at the end!

Now and again I would mention her husband Bear. Usually to poke fun at him for saying something silly and/or revealing about his fears at becoming a dad.

He survived all that.

But now – he’s about to become something worse: FORTY.

Yes, I know – quite a lot of you (and me) smile at recollections of our 40th. But you know he’s a sensitive guy, and far from his family and friends right now, dealing with being a first-time home owner, business owner, new dad, and now the insult of being “old.”

I’d like to ask you to post a happy birthday wish in the comments, which I will send to Socks. She’s making a compilation of Happy to ease her Big Bear’s difficult transition.

Will you help?

iBabies – Is that a bad thing?

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Someone posted this link today: Toddlers becoming so addicted to iPads they require therapy

And I had to give a long response, the more I thought about it, the longer it got. And now I’m making it even longer.

You should see me throwing a look of death when hubby touches my iPad. Or if the battery goes dead but I want to sit outside. They are so EASY to use! It’s been a running joke since the VCR was invented that kids understand technology better than adults. My thought has been, since I now have friends and family with young ones who also have smart phones and/or tablets: are they created to be so easy, or are they easy because some (not all!) of us are willing to learn? My dad is in his 70’s and loves computers. But daily, I have to tell people (over the phone, how hard is that?) how to copy and paste – and they can’t be as old as my dad. I had one who was just back from maternity leave. How can you be young enough to have a baby but still not know how to copy and paste? These children will never have that problem.

Maybe these kids will be the next-generation equivalent of Jobs and Gates, because they have had this fabulous thing their whole lives. They will be able to think, and invent, in ways that us old farts never conceived of because a touch screen and Skype didn’t exist when we were three. Maybe they will be behind the times because by the time they are 18, we will have the same level of technology access by eye movements or subdermal implants. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be normal adults, the same as us who stared at MTV for hours turned out. Is it an addiction, or is it the future?

This is our i-thingie collection: second, first and third gen phones, and my precious, precious iPad – which you will pry out of my cold dead hands. Or, you know, take away and set aside nightly when I fall asleep.

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The Butts Have it

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Wow, thanks everyone – the pic of Mr Spottie-pants with the grin on was really well received, and I made some new friends because of it!

But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t post this photo. Because I am clearly a 9 year old boy trapped in a 40-something woman’s body. Sled told me so, and I believe her. Well, she said 11, but I think 9 is just about right for my sense of humour.

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Heehehe! Yes, I’m in that kinda mood. Please take note, those of a scientific bent (rather than those of us who are just…bent), that Lokii’s ninth point of coloration is clearly visible. Only the male Siamese have nine points.

Dream myself awake

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On Wednesday morning, I woke myself up shortly before my alarm was due to go off. I was dreaming about one of my very good cats, Seymour, and my very best dog, Shade. They are both dead, and I knew this in my dream. The only visual I have left of the dream is of photos of them; two animals who never met in life. I have an aerial image of the photos, which were submerged in a swimming pool. The water was green with algae (more proof that I dream in colour). Either the pool was very tiny or photos were very large, because they nearly covered the bottom. My head tells me it was a tiny pool, as if that really matters.

I don’t remember anything of the dream previous to that image. What is clear in my memory is that I was trying to cry, out of grief for my lost ones, struggling to make a sound and to let the pain loose. I succeeded, but had to come entirely awake to make a sound. I awoke to the sound of my own sobs. The feeling of finally being able to voice my pain was both a relief and terrible.

I couldn’t stop crying, but I didn’t want to. I let myself go on for a bit – lying on my back, weighted down by cats, with hubby next to me. His sleep-breathing went unchanged, as far as I could tell. Eventually I not only made the sounds, but a few tears rolled from each eye. That was all I needed to recover, to acknowledge my good boys.

I got up and went about my morning as usual, but with a heavy feeling of loss to go with my puffy face. When I went upstairs to get dressed for work, I asked iDJ if he’d heard me crying.

He said he had. I said it was pretty bad, and I could have used some comforting – why didn’t he try?

He said that the last two times I cried in my sleep, I shoved him away.

Oh, I said. I didn’t know I had done that before. I was dreaming then. Sorry. This time I was awake. I thought it might have sounded different this time?

No, he said. It was the same. But he’d try again to comfort me the next time.

I don’t ever remember crying myself awake before. To sleep, yes – of course. Cursing, fighting, and arguing myself awake? Sure – and I know I do it a lot more often than I’m aware of as I don’t usually wake up. iDJ is used to my sleep habits, as strange as they apparently are. He’s so very used to them that what felt to me like screams of pain could be ignored. Wow.

I thought about saying something in type, somewhere, about the incident as it felt… prophetic. But I don’t really believe in that sort of thing. Despite the one dream I had that… well, that’s another story.

And even if I did blare it all over Facebook, and my blog: what then? A) Nothing bad happens and I look like my normal not-quite-right self. B) Something bad does happen and I’m in the “I told you so!” position – awkward and goes way beyond not-quite-right when you try to talk about it. C) Something bad does happen, but not to me, and has nothing to do with my animals or to my family, and does not cause me to feel anything like the loss I experienced that morning.

A) and C) suit my skeptical mind. A) is no harm to anyone. C) however, if something happens, is a matter of coincidence and I refuse to make any connection. Refuse, refute… because C) did happen.

Humans have survived this long due to superstition. It works as a survival instinct. It is no longer needed, but back in our early days it made sense to be wary of everything. Did my wife die because she ate that pork, or is it because she saw a black cat before she ate it? Without science, being wary of both the pork and the cat made sense. I’m not picking this example at random – to this day, two of the three Abrahamic religions believe that pork is bad, and black cats are still considered bad luck in many cultures.

Science teaches us how to identify coincidence. As my experimental dream-sample is only one day, one incident, I have too small a sample on which to base an experiment that my dream foretold grief.

But it was dammed unsettling, in the way strong, unexpected emotion is. I still don’t know why I had such an emotional dream. I know why I had my good dog on my mind, but not Seymour.

Damn, I miss them.

Green fingers and thumbs and toes, oh my

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I managed to do some planting over the weekend! It was lovely and sunny on Saturday, and I got out my box o’ seeds and decided what I wanted to grow. I had a look back, and I’m two weeks ahead of when I planted things last March, yay!

In one of my big raised beds (the ones I made last year), I put radish, two kinds of carrot, and some rocket. There’s two of last year’s late-planted carrots and a sad excuse for purple sprouting broccoli that have survived the winter in that box, so I left them alone. The carrot packet in the photo is dated ‘for planting year 2001’. They’ll still grow, I promise!

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For veg, I have a dearth of good things, it seems. I gave up on cauliflower (blecch, anyway) and regular broccoli a few years ago. They are related to cabbages, and probably because cabbage is so common, this country has every insect and disease known to horticulture ready and waiting to attack members of the brassica family. I never knew cauliflower could turn bright yellow and go slimy. Hubby never ate the heads I managed to save, anyway. And it stinks like the inside of a cow’s intestine. I’m not a fan, can you tell?

I always grow basil and it always looks great and then turns black. Sigh. Got some red cherry tomatoes, some kind of supposedly edible gourd, bell peppers, courgette (zucchini) and broad beans. I really want to try to grow corn but I have low-to-no hopes for it surviving here. I don’t have any seed, either.

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I have three definite colours of iDJ’s favourite, the cornflower – red white and blue! Also a mix, in the hopes that I get some pink ones.

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His other favourite, cosmos, is also in three colours, white, white with a pink edge, and a mixed selection that also has funky double petals. I didn’t grow the pink/white ‘candy stripe’ last year, and I missed it, so it’s back.

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His last year’s favourite, rudbeckia, did not survive the winter here (despite the advert on the packet, hmm) so I’ve got it on the go again, too. You would not believe how TINY rudbeckia seeds are! I’m going to surprise him, hopefully, with a new bloom, gaillardia. The aquilegia (what I call columbine) and the coleus are for me, taking me back to a good flower garden I had in Ohio.

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I’ve also got two kinds of red sunflowers for him, with no clue where I’m meant to put them in my garden. According to the packet as they grow 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7m) tall, yikes! I have some violas and dianthus (a different variety of dianthus than what I’ve had growing out front for years). I think I tried to grow both last year with no germination. Oh well, the seeds are free!

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I put out a lot of garlic that had gone well past its use-by date, as in it was mostly dried up or had a long green shoot coming out of each clove (or both). I find it grows amazingly well here. Easy and no maintenance to speak of. Shove it in dirt, water when dry, dig up when the greenery dies back. In a few months, one sorry-ass clove becomes a good sized garlic bulb. It tastes wonderful fresh.

My back didn’t appreciate the work, and our weather is meant to be very cold and windy but dry until the end of the month. Nevertheless, I’ve got everyone snug inside their propagators, and we move them from sunny morning windowsill to sunny evening windowsill daily. I dreamt last night that they had already begun to sprout – so I had a look when I got home tonight to see if I was right.

I was! The early birds are the gaillardia, all of the cosmos except the white, the mixed cornflower, and the ‘velvet queen’ sunflower. I’m so excited!

Aborted rant

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Well. I’ve gone quiet for a bit. I have things to post, oh yes. I can’t seem to make myself want to interact much. I’m a bit sad about missing the responses, you see. I post late at night, Irish time, and all the comments come in when I’m asleep – I love responding in ‘real time.’ Even if I set this doowhazizz to post at a later time, I’d be at work when my friends visit. All blogs are blocked at work, too. I can use the WP app to respond but I really like seeing a comment in situ when I reply – okay, that’s a bit odd perhaps. It’s a visual thing. I also enjoy sitting here, writing my heart out, and hitting ‘publish.’ I’d miss that just a bit too much.

Today, Margaret Thatcher finally died. I didn’t know much about her when I was living in the USA – I do recall the Falklands War, but I wasn’t interested in the politics of it. I never heard about the coal miners, or her support of apartheid, or how she let Irish men starve to death in prison rather than concede that the UK and Ireland were at war. Now that I’m married to an Irishman I’ve heard about these things, and I’ve heard again every time her face was on telly: will she just hurry up and die already?!? So, iDJ is happy, if you can say that. You know what? I can say that, and I just did. He’s glad she’s dead, and I’m happy he’s glad. I expect there will be a Thatcher-themed radio show this Thursday. So there. They should put her in a locked, gated mausoleum to keep away all the people who want to dance (or worse) on her grave. That said, a total stranger just called it ‘utterly pathetic’ that I said we’d opened some sparkling wine tonight for the occasion. Now I’m just a little bit pissed off.

Actually, a bit more than pissed off. If I say something stupid, I expect to be informed of it in a reasonable manner. Not called utterly pathetic. That is the type of interaction I never get here, and thank you all so very much for being reasonable people, or at least ignoring me when I’m irritating.

I couldn’t spell mausoleum to save my life, by the way. I don’t trust that it’s right even now, despite Google saying it is. That’s for you, Tom!

What else… Ah. My life feels like it is on hold. The relief I felt two weeks ago is dissipating and now I’m coming up with new things to worry about.

Ugh, now I’ve gone and made myself even crankier than usual. I’ve lost interest in my own bitching, so here’s a beautiful photo of Lokii.

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Zoom in. Yes, do. He’s drooling just because he has sunshine. Now, doesn’t that make it all better?