Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm Pretty Lithe

Aw yeah baby - I have found the secret to living a confident and happy life, and it involves Intense Pulse Lasers in your pits and on your patch.

If it were socially acceptable to peel off the layers necessary for a Canberra winter and shove peoples faces into my pits, or drop my pants and point at my hooch, I would TOTALLY be a hit at all the parties.

Ladies - I can not recommend this enough.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On grieving

Every few months I have a dream about JCM (more here). They all seem to follow the same sort of story, but I described the one I had last week to gf1 and gf2 so I remember it a little better. In my dream, I was in the loungeroom at my parents house and answered the phone - it was him. I answered, he said hi and asked how I was, I told him I was good and asked him how he was and then asked if this was a recording of a conversation we had had earlier. "No, why?" he asked, and then he listened as I explained that he had passed away in December last year.

I can't remember his reaction, but we both now understood that he was not meant to be able to talk to me, that we had found a way to communicate, and that if the phone call were to end then we would not be able to talk anymore because we'd been very lucky to cheat his death in this way.

And then I woke up.

All of the dreams I have with him have to do with talking to him, usually in person, and him not realising that he has already passed. And while I'm pretty sure it's just my brain tricking me because I've seen shows on tv where people can communicate with the dead, so why the heck not. And I'm also sure he knew he was going to pass away before he actually did, even though he was so adamant that he was going to beat it when I saw him. But I do get some comfort from these dreams.

It's odd, because we had fallen out of touch for like five years before he got sick. While we were close in school and uni, we weren't ever super close. But he was always fun, always entertaining and often annoying in the way that guys in their twenties you are catching up on missed years are.

I think I hold on to my grief for JCM as much for him as I do for me. I think about the pain that I felt at his funeral, the manner in which he won't get to do so many things, that he doesn't get to be here for so many of our things. I think about the loss itself , how is it that people can keep losing people and still stay afloat.

I remember being pretty distraught at a work function after being given the news about Max, how a workmate asked me if he lived with me and then dismissing that it wasn't so sad because he lived with my parents.

I knew then that the feeling of absolute grief was important, that grieving leads to healing. But I wonder what I am grieving for... how much is for JCM and how much is for me.

I often think of loss of him when I am driving.
And I always think of the loss of him where I hear this song.

The food that I’m eating
Is suddenly tasteless
I know I’m alone now
I know what it tastes like
So break me to small parts
Let go in small doses
But spare some for spare parts
There might be some good ones
Like you might make a dollar
I’m inside your mouth now
Behind your tonsils
Peeking over your molars
You’re talking to her now
And you’ve eaten something minty
And you’re making that face that I like
And you’re going in, in for the kill, kill
For the killer kiss, kiss for the kiss, kiss

I need your money, it’ll help me
I need your car and I need your love x2
So won’t you help a brother out?
Won’t you help a brother out?
Won’t you help a brother out, out, out, out, out?

So break me to small parts
Let go in small doses
But spare some for spare parts
You might make a dollar
Dollar, might make a dollar

So won’t you help a brother out?
Won’t you help a brother out?
Won’t you help a brother out, out, out, out, out?

So break me to small parts
Let go in small doses
But spare some for spare parts
There might be some good ones
You might make a dollar
(There might be some good ones)
There might be some good ones
(You might make a dollar)
You might make a dollar
(There might be some good ones)
There might be some good ones

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pounder some more!

So! By all accounts, Pounder is settling in well. Dadsy worked from home yesterday just to keep an eye on him and so that he could take him to the vet later in the day. He is not spinning as much, but he's still dead keen to lean behind your knees and smell your butt.

We got an email in the middle of the day from Dadsy, telling us that he thinks he's a lovely little dog, just veeeeery dumb. Dadsy took him into the fenced off pool area to have a bit of a sniff around, and it may just be that Pounder has never come across a pool before - he walked straight into it, stood there, then walked straight back out. Unsure of what had happened, he walked right back in. Then right back out. Then right back in a third time. Then right back out and he coughed and spluttered from swallowing a moutful of pool water.

We'll be keeping him out of the pool area methinks.

The vet estimated him between 5 and 8 years of age and in good health, apart from being underweight. She said that his spinning is behavioral rather than neurological, which is what we suspected but it was some comfort for the family that couldn't bear another lovely dog with another brain tumour, although it's hard to understand how the behaviour can make him feel better. While she was pretty useless in telling us what to do about it, Dadsys workmates sons girlfriend (or similar) is a vet and told him that we just need to turn our backs and ignore it and eventually he will stop - Jey and Desci have both been very reassuring about his behaviour and I really appreciate it. Dadsy went to work today and he's still alive, so that's a good sign.

I visited him again this afternoon and he came when I called him, put up with some patting and chatting and even chased the ball a little - have we found ourselves a real dog?!

Can't wait to stop past and see him again on the weekend - The Hun is heading up to Sydney to watch the rugby after we go check out another two houses (different ones to last time) so I plan to hang out with the parents and Pounder.

Here are some more poor quality pics for those of you not on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

He ain't nothin' but a pound dog

Only a few days after Elvis' passing, mumsy and dadsy were already in talks with ARF about adopting a new dog or two - they fell in love with one and asked about him, then fell in love with another and also asked about her, then got told both had found news homes but that there was a shih tsu at the pound that needed a home.

Dadsy called in the deposit over the phone.

We were trying not to get ahead of ourselves (having gotten excited about the other two that we didn't get) but middle bro had already given him a name and family tea night last night was all about our dog to be: Pounder (yes, because he comes from the pound).

Until today, all we had of him was the pound website photo:

Awww. I know, right?

So I flexxed off from 12:20 today to buy a new collar, a new bed, a new food bowl and a new water bowl for the new pet. Then it was a short drive back to the pound to pick up the newest addition to the family.

The pound guy got me to fill out all the paperwork and then let me out to the yards - such a terrible place, the crying howling dogs in their cages.

He took me to gate 20 and I saw the poor little fellow at the gate, he timidly came towards the pound man as he opened the gate and then bolted to the far fence. The pound man carried him to the car for me and he was pretty well behaved until he decided to growl while I clipped him in to the harness. He sat at full attention for the drive home, letting me coo over him, talk to him and pat him for the whole 10 minute drive. As we pulled into the driveway he climbed up my arm in his haste to get out and was happy to be out on the lead. Until I tried to lead him toward the house and he flipped out, rolling and twisting trying to get out of his harness.

On Monday night mumsy and dadsy told us that he didn't like being on a lead and that he didn't like being picked up. After spending the afternoon with him, I can add that he doesn't always like pats, he doesn't like you approaching him with two hands, he doesn't like toast or tuna or cheese, he doesn't like a collar being put on and he hates baths (my left arm is now proof of this).

He does like cat food, he does like dry puppy food, he does like chicken strips, he does like liver strips, he does like Scooby Snacks and he does like Home Brand carob biscuits.

He is really knotty, he pants a lot, he sniffs constantly, he is really thin, he is learning how stairs work, he is marking EVERYTHING, he will sometimes chase a squeaky ball, he sits when you're in the kitchen or moving plastic bags of food, his spine is curved up and back and you can feel each of his ribs.

He is always on the move - if he is not sniffing he is walking, if he's not walking he is pacing, if he is not pacing then he is spinning in circles. On the upside, he circles both to his left and to his right, so it's unlikely to be a brain tumour - we just couldn't handle that. However, he freaks out if you go into a different room and shut the door - this includes going to the toilet. It's not just any freak out - he spins and spins and spins in fast cirles and he cries and whines and barks - it is a stress attack of sorts.

The plan is hopefully to have dadsy stay home from work tomorrow, just to help him relax in to the place. He needs a haircut, he needs to be desexed, and he needs a vet check to determine his age, to determine if there is something wrong with his spine, to determine if he needs some kind of medication - I honestly don't know how they are going to leave the house to go work. Tom used to do something similar - if we walked him to the shops and then someone went in to the shop, he would squeal and cry and whimper and shake. Something about us being seperated would set him off.

Because poor Pounder was a stray, we can only assume what could have happened to him before now. His pacing seems to indicate he was in a pen or a cage, or somewhere with limited space - the cage theory seems to be reinforced by his stress attack when he may feel he has been shut in or out. His lack of interest in sitting on laps or having constant pats or sitting the comfy couch or seat would indicate he was an outside dog. His frenzied manner of eating would indicate he was kept with many other dogs where he had to eat as much as quickly as he could. His dislike of being picked up (he will roll and make what dead weight he has) would indicate he was handled roughly. His spine curves up at the back, indicating he may have been backed up in the corner for some time.

Poor little guy - I hope he can settle.
He has a very good life ahead.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ask Metafilter

Have you guys heard of Ask Metafilter?

Dadsy actually told me about it, heaven knows how HE found it but it was one of the first sites he added to the Feeder that I set up for him.

Basically, people write in with a question and the random masses (the 'hive mind') respond - It is VERY easy to lose an hour or so in it!

I mainly skim through using my feeder and only read the full post and response to one in every 20. BUT. There are some good ones.

This person experiences one of my social drawbacks and gets some great responses.
This person reads books the same way I do (and I'm going to read the responses once this is published!).
This one could give me some great ideas for martial arts/work exercises.
This one could help me recapture the books I never read in my youth!

Off you go!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oh man

If there's a way* I could get married** in this dress, I would.

* Including marrying her - she's on my swing list.
**No, not getting married any time soon***.
*** Unless someone can hook me up with the lovely miss G****

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Dadsy is keen for grandkids, and is not particularly subtle about it, much to the delight of eldest bro's gf and myself (note: also to gf2, of whom dadsy seems determined to set up with middle bro).

He has found his own way to combat this - by adopting random strays from around the neighbourhood. He was on leave at one stage and was wandering around the back yard when he came across a cat in the compost bin (it should be noted that he (and middle bro) are actually allergic to cats - anything with shedding fur) and called out "Hullo, Mr Cat!".

I'm not entirely clear how long this carried on for, but soon enough we were getting regular updates on Mr Cat every Monday night at family tea. How dadsy would spot him and ask him how his day was, how he thought Mr Cat was, how he had gotten closer to Mr Cat, how he had spotted Mr Cat, how Mr Cat talked back to him when he asked how his day was - his meow was the meow-iest he'd ever heard and so he must be a very smart cat.

Then, it was Mr Cat had been near the house, then in the shed, then in the house, then eating Elvis' food, then on the kitchen bench - but he'd always flee when anyone was near.

Then he'd been sleeping on the outside table. Then they bought him his own little cat tent. And his own little cat plate. And his own little cans of cat food and boxes of dry food. And his own worm tablets, snuck into his meals.

Last week, dadsy showed me how smart Mr Cat was, to come when he was called. He walked outside with the box of dry food and called out: "Mr Cat!" *shake box of food* "Meow!" *shake box of food* "Mr Cat!" *shake box of food "Meow!"

And there he was, shiny cat eyes in his cozy cat tent.

Somewhere along the line he has graduated to "Dr Cat" - he worked out that the laundry door doesn't shut properly and that he can let himself into the laundry through the dog door and then into the house by hooking his little hand under the door.

This has been an exciting few days in the developing domestication of Dr Cat. On the weekend one of my cousins was over and gave him a pat (he grew up with cats, whereas we have always been a dog family) and last night we all got to have a pat - he's a thick haired cat, very soft and quite vocal and friendly.

On Monday night, we all headed out and all gave him a pat (some with more success than others) and then tried a few times to let him in through the 'people door' when we noticed him more than once staring through the screen.

Tonight, middle bro told me that he sits in the shed while youngest bro plays internets with one hand and pats Doctor Cat with the other.

I find it quite hilarious that my family have just managed to adopt a pet in this manner - to the point where while we were looking at properties out bush on the weekend, dadsy was musing about how he would have to trap Doctor Cat and build him a little cattery in his new home.

Somebody give the guy some grandkids already!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sleep well, dear heart.

In 1989 we got our first real family dog. We'd had two whippets that we'd had to give away, due to their fence-jumping, and a bitser stray that we'd adopted but had to return after he was a bit too aggressive for then baby-youngest-bro.

I remember my parents telling us that we would be getting a one year old poodle, and I remember being distinctly unimpressed that we would be getting a giant snob-dog. In reality he was a miniature toy poodle crossed with a shi tsu, a happy little ewok man who needed a new home because his brother wouldn't let him eat.

He was never very good with sit or stay, he would only play fetch when he felt like it (and would never bring the ball back), he snored and grunted in his sleep and he loved to chase the champagne cork because he knew it meant he'd be getting some blue cheese, caviar and marble chocolate.

He would let us dress him up, he would let us hold him up like a baby, he would humour us and sometimes go a little crazy, tearing up and down the backyard or around and around the loungeroom. We would nag him to sing for us, he ate all of my peas and he loved getting his hair brushed.

He was there when we had the chickens, he was there when we had the rabits and guinea pigs, he was there when we got Tom, he was there when Tom passed he was there when we got Max and he was there when Max passed too.

He befriended the kitten from next door, he visited my Pa and nearly got his bottom bitten by his nasty cranky dog, he came to the beach and would only let his toes get wet. He won the 'smart dog' games by being able to get the teatowel straight off his head (while Tom would sit patiently and wait for you to help him out), he would proudly strut out in front of us when we took him out for a walk, he loved to come for a drive in the car just to be with us and he loved the game where you'd tease him which chocolate then cover it with your body so he had to dig to get it. He had a waggy tail that sat and swung high like a flag, he had one white toe and a patch of white on his chest, a crusty red moustache from where he would lick and relick his nose and around his mouth. He only dug occasionally, usually under the house - he was only a pretend dog, really.

He'd been getting poorer for a while now (eg, the second last point here), and there were a few times in the last six months or so where mumsy and dadsy thought it would be time to say farewell. One morning in particular dadsy and yougest bro took the day off to have him put to sleep - he'd cried in pain, wouldn't lift his tail, wouldn't eat and wouldn't take water. They got him to the vet, understandably upset, only to find that he'd in fact soiled his tail to his butt and was backed up - a quick trim, a squirt of gastro, and he was as good as gold. His kidneys had failed so he was getting straight glucose every so often to perk him up. He was cancer ridden but in no state to go to surgery. He was blinded with cataracts, completely deaf and couldn't get a haircut because he wouldn't have handled the stress. His instinct was to snap at your hands when you offered him food (although he only two teeth left), he battled constantly to stay upright and he would often lean on whatever he could so that he could stay upright. He never made a noise unless the phone rang or the bird screeched, then he would cry and cry and cry.

This choice of when to cry made us think that he was not in any pain - if he were, he would have let us know.

He'd slept in youngest bro's room since he was no longer able to climb the stairs, a giant stuffed gorilla sitting over the gas heating vent. He had the computer or a radio set on for him all the time, and he'd often be hand fed when he wasn't feeling hungry. He had picked up the habit of dropping in to middle bro's room to toilet before returning back to youngest bro's room to carry on sleeping, however he'd more recently just kept it in youngest bro's room. We knew it was getting bad this week when he'd stay on the gorilla and soil himself, no plans of shifting.

Dadsy called this morning to tell me they were going to take him in - he'd let out a cry last night and had been at his worst all week. I got out of bed and into some jeans and headed over to the house to say my goodbye - it didn't seem real, so I accompanied mumsy and dadsy to the vet. They were in tears and he was quiet, wrapped in a towel and looking around. Dadsy checked in so that he wouldn't have to hang around in the waiting room, his least favourite place in the world. We were taken into a room to wait, then were given a few minutes before the vet returned to continue the selected procedure. Dadsy couldn't stay to watch and mumsy didn't want to leave him and I decided to stay as well.

They clipped back some hair on his leg, the knotted fur revealing dry grey skin and lots of dead cells. He found a vein he could use and that's when I broke down. He inserted the needle.

Elvis cried. He let out a call and he growled, his howl slowly growing quieter and then he was gone.

I tried to give him one last pat but he just wasn't our dog anymore. He was a shell. Gnarled, used and discarded.

I pulled it together for the rest of the day until I was almost home and this song came on. The song, the lyrics, the imagery and the sound of his last cry are just too much.

He calls me to the ocean
Takes me wandering through the street
A restless imagination
But for now, I move my feet on the ground
'Cause I feel like going home

I can float above the ceiling
I like drifting through the air
I tend to lose my concentration
But right now the clouds don't appeal to me
I feel like going home

Sometimes late at night
While runnin' from the rain
Running from the voices
Filling up my brain
Now I wish they'd leave me alone
And let me be
To go off on my own
Let me be to go home
I feel like going home

I miss you, Elvis.
Sleep well, dear heart.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

House Hunting

The Hun and I have been eying off allhomes for a while. It was that I would spend a LOT of time looking through the houses (particularly when I was meant to be studying) and then I would obsess and obsess over a place I thought was 'it'. We would see it, we would be disappointed and we would start again. While discussing how obsessed I was with a house last week, The Hun finally popped on to the website himself and found a few that I just hadn't considered.

Meet my latest obsession:
Southside, pre-loved, 3 bedroom, BIR, ensuite, large block, real 'family' style home.

Meet The Hun's latest obsession:
Waaaaaay northside, new, 3 bedroom, split level, ensuite, small block, 'new family' home.

They battle it out on the weekend, one inspection after the other - will be a very interesting day!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Honey, now if I'm honest

I was kinda hoping for some more feedback on the previous post...

While I guilt you a little with that, have a look at this spectacular image:
I've had this image in my tabs for over a week now (from here) - isn't Emile Hirsch just divine to look at? I love the glasses, the scruff, the crazy outfit and the smirk.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

You're not the only one... to have lost yourself

I finished the book last night, and I'm looking forward to rereading and rereading to determine my favourites, compare with others, and follow their stories.

There are an amazing number of submitters who have seen such tragedy - I do wonder if we are representative of the general population, or if people of certain experience are drawn to share their story?

In the mean time, here's my story - page 183.

You're not the only one... to have lost yourself.
We had met at a party I didn't remember - the manner in which I swung a broom handle impressed him, even if the speed I could twirl it was greater than my dexterity and I more than once bumped my arm, my leg, the side of my head. We met again at university when he agreed to give me a lift to an assessable excursion, and our fate was sealed the night I saw him across the crowded nightclub, the night I realised my most recent crush was indeed interested in my good friend instead, the night I realised there was some charm to the guy with the good looks who danced like a stereotype.

The relationship can be summarised as three years of stolen moments. I'd sneak into his room at night and sneak out at 3am, he would tell his family he was doing uni work when we'd go see a movie, I took up a job delivering the food of the restaurant of which he was a waiter. His family culture meant that much of our 'together' time was spent completing chores for his family or for one of his many projects - sitting in the passenger seat of his car while he fiddled with the lights, sitting on the bed while he fiddled with a switch, sitting on the garden wall while he dug and weeded and cleaned.

In retrospect, I don't know how it lasted as long as it did.

The girl who loved lyrics and the boy who liked only the bass. The boy who didn't read the news and the girl who always wanted to know the answers. The girl who loved sentiment and the boy whose idea of a great gift was to pretend the box was empty.

But somehow it lasted. And somewhere I lost me. I was happy to become his shadow, merging seamlessly when required or simply trailing behind.

When I got a proper job, I realised how much more there was to life. People were priorities over tasks, chores and traditions. Thoughts and opinions could be heard, absorbed and shared. Cohabitation, long holidays and unknown experience beckoned.

In a phone call on a weeknight I suggested a break, to which he tearfully he agreed. And I was fine for a week or two, whilst he suffered unsilently. Then I realised I didn't know who I was, that he knew exactly who I had become, and that he was no longer sad - almost simultaneously.

What follows next were the darkest months of my life.

A relationship reforged through anger and hurt should never be allowed to commence. A relationship in which one party has no intent other than that to harm should never be given such opportunity. A relationship with a person who has lost themselves should be managed delicately with compassion, but was instead abused to elevate only the most despicably tortured soul.

And this is how I would find myself in tears on his driveway, still trying to be quiet so as not to alert his family of my presence.
And this is how I would find myself in tears in his bathroom, reaching for a kiss on the lips but receiving only direction and dismissal.
And this is how I would find myself in tears in his bed, the only person I felt close to and the person I felt the furthest distance from.

And this what I want to say to you.

You are not the only one to have reached your lowest low, to be so close to and so far from the one you both love and despise the most, to carry the sadness of the mistakes you have made, the mistakes you are making and the mistakes you will no doubt make again.

But please, take heed, you are not the only one to capture that glimmer of realisation that yes, you are above all of this.

And I promise that you are not the only one who will be loved for the beauty you contain, cherished for your delicate calamity and found worthy of sharing the joys and the sorrows of another.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Results are in

Managing Human Resources = HD
Business Intelligence Systems = D

To have gotten that HD, I needed to get at least 91.25% on my final exam.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

After all that excitment

.. I musta run out of puff!

Actually, I just got busy again.

Some of my martial arts students have a pretty big grading coming up on Saturday morning, and there's a certain level of stress that comes with being one of their instructors. There's been a lot of planning and rushing and fretting and thinking and teeth gnashing. I've been at Bunnings getting supplies for breaking, catching up with a visiting instructor from Darwin, writing and rewriting a grading plan, ordering people around, planning fights and board holders, contacting seniors and generally being a stressball.

Tomorrow night I'm being taught a new form, then training for two hours and then having dinner with two (senior) visiting instructors and Magf. Sat morning I'm at the hall from 8:30, doing grading prep and calling and fighting, then I'm (HOPEFULLY!) looking at houses for sale, then going to dinner and drinking a fair volume and dancing to embarass my students. Sunday I'm going to see a movie for martial arts fundraising and then collapsing into a hot mess.

Keep us in your thoughts people!!

(PS - Uni results out tomorrow - ARGH!!!)
(PPS - If I somehow manage 2 HD's, The Hun is going to buy me a new Guess Bag. If I don't get the HD's I will probably buy it myself. IT. IS. TEH. SECKS.)