Monthly Archives: February 2014

De La Soul-Shenanigans!

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iDJ (my hubby) just loves his hip-hop, and one of his favourite bands is De La Soul. So this week, today, in just about an hour, he will be playing live on radio23.org Channel A, all of the original tunes that De La Soul took samples from.

This could be really interesting, and I’m sure there are bound to be surprises! If your a DLS fan or just curious, tune in to SoulShenanigans on the link above, or visit him on Facebook.

I’ll be posting the link to the podcast once the show is over, and maybe include the set list if anyone is interested?

This weeks poster:

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The podcast is now available! Give it a listen here.

Damn, this Traffic Jam, I Really Hate to be Late

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I’ve been holding on to these photos since summer 2012! I wasn’t in a blogging mood then, but it seems I’m getting back into the swing of things.

iDJ and I had driven out to Urlaur Lake, so I could go snorkelling. Unfortunately the place was jam-packed, and there were even two dammed Jet-Ski’s out on the water, rocketing around, scaring the swans and fish. Um, no: I don’t desire to have my underwater magic world soundtracked by whining engines. Plus we had Dogzilla with us, and she is terrified of children – of which there were many.

Poo.

So we went off in search of something else to do. On the way, I got to experience my first traffic-jam, County Mayo style!

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Don’t you just love that the cattle were being moved along by bicycle? The cows are taking up both lanes, too – clearly not too many other cars had been up or down the road recently.

(Yes, we are geeks, and R2-D2 talks when you bop him on the head.)

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Interesting that the cattle had nearly all moved to the correct side of the road after passing us – except for that one big brown girl who can just barely be seen on the left. She was all about the tasty road-grass.

The white/blue-grey one with the eyeshadow that was giving iDJ the stink-eye was bigger than our Mini Cooper. Yikes.

I was in the passenger seat, repeating ‘ohshitohshitohshit’ under my breath, while smiling like crazy at the experience of seeing a herd of cattle parting around the car. ‘Don’t knock the wing mirrors off! Please…? Gooood cows, niiiice cows!’ No damage was done to the Mini – unless you count the poop-splatters acquired further up the road.

So, I Have to do This Now at Work…

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Some jackass has stolen two of my drinks out of the work fridge. Yes, I get made fun of for my slightly passive-aggressive note. But I still have my drink at the end of the day since I started doing this.

Asshole never copped to doing it, either. I wouldn’t fuck with me either when I’m thirsty.

Simple Cat Training

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I don’t have indoor/outdoor cats. They are indoor only. This doesn’t bother Lokii a bit; in fact he gets really scared if we hold him near the sliding glass door. Which we do on occasion, trying to help him bug-hunt. It usually ends in bloody shoulders…

Spot is a different story. I used to live in a house with a balcony and when I was out in the sunshine, Spot and his Good Dog Shade would come out with me. Spot also loves walks on the harness and car trips (if we stay under 30MPH/48KPH).

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Returning home from a car trip.

The problem with Spot is that he gets overly excited and starts demanding to go out on the harness. Loudly and often. When thwarted, he starts becoming very intent on escaping the house – and he usually manages it, no matter how careful we are. He will be outside in a fraction of a second if the door didn’t close fully. He can even move the sliding glass door with his arm if given a gap wide enough to get his arm into.

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Neko being overly-interested in the fact that her cat is outside.

So, I feel bad a bit by denying him his fun, but I cannot bear the noise and the bad behaviour that always comes after a harness walk.

I did notice that he doesn’t misbehave when it comes to the car trips. He will cry when he thinks he’s about to get to go, and he is usually right. Because car trips only happen on the weekend mornings, you see. He knows it, he’s a smart little bugger. So I put my noggin to thinking of how I could take Spot outside and avoid all the resulting drama.

First: it needs to be a routine he can understand and predict. Second: I need to be in control as I refuse to let him dictate my habits. Lastly: it has to be fun for both of us.

When the weather is good, I sit right outside in my beloved Coleman camp chair and enjoy my morning coffee. I’ve started keeping the chair in the kitchen, all folded up, because I can’t fit into my shed-house anymore (iDJ has taken it over with his bicycle and big-ass Weber grill, sigh). Spot usually comes down with me in the morning and begs for attention, nicely and quietly. Why not combine a happy cat with sitting outside in my chair?

I set the chair outside, and called Spot to me. By that I mean he jumped into my arms (I must video this one day, it’s adorable). We went out, I sat down with my knees together to make a good lap, plunked him down and held on to him loosely. It didn’t take long before he made an attempt to jump down. I immediately got up and put him inside. Total outside time: maybe 1 minute.

The next morning, he lasted about three minutes. The next, over six. He caught on so fast! Soon I didn’t have to hold on to him physically and just made a ‘fence’ with my arms.

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He didn’t cry to go out unless I put the chair out, and he was just as annoyingly loving in the morning as always. He didn’t try to escape as he knew the rules.

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The weather has been miserable for weeks, too cold or too wet or both, so we haven’t been out together in a long time. Yesterday was lovely, as you can see – bright enough to make us both squint – but he hadn’t forgotten a thing.

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When iDJ came down and found us like this, he had to take a few snaps. By then I’d been sitting for at least 20 minutes, my coffee was ice-cold, and I was actually hoping Spot would try to jump down!

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I’d also brought my phone with me, and had already killed the battery taking photos of my view.
“What’s that over there?”

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“What’s that over there?”

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“It’s a bird it’s a bird ehehehehhehek!”

I know a few of my friends here have cats that would love a bit of safe outdoor time. I hope this helps!

Bad Dog-Mom = Great Cat-Mom

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It’s been cold lately, and even though she has a thick fur coat, the dog refuses to understand that she is only allowed on the couch when she is invited. She’s been in a slow shed since about August, so is definitely not welcome on my awesome couch.

After I caught her sneaking up there while I was still home, I started leaving things in the way so she would take the damn hint. Sometimes it would be a random ladder that was to hand (what, you don’t have ladders just leaning around in your living room?), but lately it has been a couple of empty boxes.

Of course, the cats were in ecstasy that I had boxes just leaning around in my living room. But it got better when I put them on the couch. Double the fun!

This morning I had another brilliant idea. I tucked a corner of the blanket that lives on the couch into the box before I left for work. Nine hours later, I come home and iDJ immediately asks me, “Guess where Spotty is?”

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I have turned Spot into the happiest cat in Ireland.

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Laser-eyes courtesy of the iPhone flash: needed as it is lovely and dark and warm and soft in the box now.

Who the Hell Puns in their Sleep?!?!

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Me.

I do.

I’ve not been sleeping well lately. More accurately, I’ve not been sleeping for long periods in the morning but I do have loads of REM sleep, complete with weird dreams.

Last week I again dreamt that I was a man, and it was perfectly normal in the dream. Forget the details now, as you do, but I remember noting that I wasn’t even me in the dream.

This morning, I was the interviewer for a TV documentary on a famous person. I wish it was someone real, but I don’t think it was. It was a man, and rather heavy-set and intelligent. I think he was an actor. Much like the amazing Stephen Fry, but it wasn’t him. I was there to document his unusual hobby, which was candle-making.

In dream space, there was lots of time doing camera angles, set up, questions, etc. It went on for a while, perfectly normal – as if I have a clue what being a TV interviewer entails.

Eventually, cameras rolling, a young man walks in. The star stops and says, “Oh, I’d like you to meet my assistant. He’s been invaluable. This is Chandler.”

I woke up immediately, laughing out loud.

Ugh.

Sigh.

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Leaving work tonight, I had to put a few things in the trunk/boot of the Mini. Opened it up, leaned forward to toss in the stuff. WHACK. I bounced my forehead off the thin edge of the deck, shouted an appropriate word, staggered back a few steps… my lovely work lads walked with me over to the light to see if I was bleeding (nope). I do have quite a sore lump there. Looks like I’m trying to grow just one horn. It’s not even in the damn middle of my quite expansive forehead.

My guess is that the cold temps tonight kept the hydraulic hinges from opening all the way. It’s never done that before, and it is very dark behind the building, so I didn’t even look.

Won’t trust the boot again. Especially in the dark. Ow.

I Got to Meet Some Cattle!

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It may sound odd, but I’ve never met a cow in person before (or bull, or bullock – but I’m gonna call them all cows for the sake of brevity most of the time, sorry).

When I was a teenager in Florida, I had a country-gal friend who had a very tame bull. I did meet him once, with a fence in between us.

Until I moved to Ireland, I never got that close to cows again. They just weren’t common in the places I lived.

So I was thrilled to get an invitation to visit a breeding farm last Friday. I went up after work, in my already-grubby work gear. It wouldn’t matter a bit if I stepped in, or sat in, anything that came out of a cow. After 6:30 at night it was dark and windy and cold and the rain was coming down sideways… but none of that mattered as my friend takes excellent care of his bovine buddies and had them all safe inside the barn, warm(ish), out of the wind and drying off.

First I met the three babies. The white one (male) is about a month old, the two girls are about 7 weeks old.

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That’s Bizz, the male. I love his pose in this photo – looks like he is ready for the show circuit!

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Bizz is my friend’s favourite at the moment, and the one he really wanted me to meet. Little guy had been poorly a few nights previous, and my friend had spent two nights with him under a heat lamp with classical music playing, warm and calm. It worked, as you can see.

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Can you see Bizz’s little tongue? Something I never expected: when you scratch him just right, he starts licking. Rather like when you get the sweet spot on a dog’s belly and the back leg starts to go, or even closer to how some cats get all ‘licky’ when you scratch their back at base of their tail.

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Eventually Bizz got past his stranger-danger alert and let me pet him.

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And then the girls, Buzz and Kicker, got a little closer, too.

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Closer…

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…and they let me be part of their circle for a little while.

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Of course we had an audience the entire time. Their mommas were looking through the gates at us, watching over the little ones.

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So was the bull, Murty. See him there with the ring in his nose? The big brown gal on the left, Trumpet, was pretty aggressive – I wouldn’t want to meet her without the steel gates in between us! She was the only one in the whole barn that acted as if she wanted to gore me with her (removed at one month or so old) horns. Seriously, she has to be tranq-darted by the vet before he’ll touch her, she’s that bad. She likely won’t be bred again, she’s too dangerous and a bad influence on the babies.

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We went around to the other side of the barn where the older calves were sheltering. This photo shows basically what it felt like to be in there with them: a little swarm of nervous 6-month old calves, circling and shifting, head-butting each other out of the way to put a safe distance between themselves and the scary new person. None wanted to get close to me.

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How can you resist this little face? This is the female of the only set of twins born recently. I think she looks like a Siamese cat. Lovely wee thing.

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Another one of her, with a little boy in front, who caught my attention later.

We stood in their pen for a while, chatting away about the other cows, and their histories, personalities, and the difficulties and day-to-day of keeping up with a breeding barn.

I have asked to be on-call for the next birth, and how exciting would that be? Who needs sleep when you have a chance to see (and help) a calf being born?

Then I felt warm breath on my ankle, and a tug at my jacket…

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What’s going on back there?

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Suddenly I had a fan club!

I quite quickly had a new favourite: the little white calf, who has a black W on his nose. I’d mostly stopped trying to get pictures by the time I decided I really liked him (I got to scritch his little neck, too), so I don’t have a good photo of him. But maybe that is for the best, as the boy calves go from the breeding farm to the next property, where they will be turned into bullocks and eventually into dinner. It is what it is, and it rather breaks my friend’s heart to send off his favourites. He’s too gentle a soul for this job, sometimes.

These cattle are a cross between charolais and limosin cattle. Maybe a few of my farming friends can enlighten me on the breed characteristics, or how the cross is meant to be? Because except for Trumpet, they were all calm and quiet, even with having the surprise of a stranger in their barn touching their babies. Murty the bull was right there in a pen with a few of the girls, not a bother to anyone, and barely glanced at me. Of course I will put a lot of their temperament down to their caretaker, who never hits or prods them, and spends all of his day (and sometimes all of his night) with them.

Foggy Saturday, with Graves

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I have so much crap to post, and have had so little motivation to do so! It’s sad because I know you will love that one pic of the cats being cute, but since when am I happy putting a post up with just one pic? Neverrrrr. So instead I goof off on FB or read everyone else’s blogs (and I’m massively behind on that, too).

I have to get these up here, as there are some pretty amazing pics if I say so meself.

Backstory; iDJ and I had just eaten one of his amazing weekend breakfasts and were finishing off the rest of the episode of Justified, or Marvel Agents of SHEILD, or maybe one of the old Voyager episodes… if you think I’m bad at reading blogs, imagine how much backlog of awesome TV I still have to watch. I don’t even have Grim yet.

Anyhoo. I glanced out the window at our mountain, and I see something awesome.

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The fog bank had rolled over the top of our rather short mountain and had thinned out once over the top. I’d never seen this weird weather before in the nearly nine years we’ve lived in this house.

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Hubby paused the TV (what, you think I get to touch the remote?), leapt up, and said we had to go get photos right now now now before it was too late!!!

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So in pyjamas and steel-toe work boots, I gathered up my iPhone and his expensive camera and he drove like a madman to the parish cemetery – always the best spot for a view of the mountain.

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I acted as a bad roadie for his expensive cam (the lenses had fingerprints on them! And no soft lens wipe in his massive case! Panic panic panic). But while he was being all professional I whipped out my iPhone and turned on my favourite B&W Hipstamatic setting, and took the three B&W pics above. Then the damn phone decided to choke and died, and once I had convinced it that yes, it did have battery life left, I got the colour one with the regular iPhone 4 cam.

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This is the only photo iDJ took that he deemed worthy. Yeah, it’s awesome. But I’m so fond of mine that I actually signed up and submitted one to the National Geographic ‘your shot.’ Guess which one?