Happy New Year, people! Or should I say, bots, since there will be no one else reading this. (I should find where the stats live on this thing. Or maybe not.) Here is where I solemnly proclaim my new year’s resolution to blog once a week – nay, twice a week! Daily! Upon the hour! – but let’s not set ourselves up for failure on the first day of the year. Well, on purpose. No doubt I am failing immeasurably in multiple different ways right at this moment. God, this year sucks already. Way to bring it down, self! But no; it’s a gorgeous day and the baby is sleeping and when she wakes we will go to the dog beach with the dog, to make him happy since the new year fireworks last night made him sad. (He wasn’t sad for long. He never is.) So here’s where I slap up some photos again and pretend you know what’s been going on. It’s weird, because I read YOUR blogs and twitters, so I feel like we’re all caught up; but I guess you may have no idea what I’ve been doing. This:
I present to you, a fully functioning human. With a fountain pigtail. My work here is done.
Christmas Day outfit, complete with ruffly bum.
I did not buy this, but fully endorse its use.
Chillin’ out by the lake.
Sand was not the delicious treat she had been hoping for.
Guess what? It’s May. MAY. I don’t know where the hell this year is going. Anyway, I’ve been in New Zealand for the past three weeks, which explains my complete lack of internet-ness. The previous weeks… well, I’ve got nothing. Disappearing! It’s what we do! Anyway, now I’m back and I have some sort of hideous throat infection which has become an horrific sinus cold thing. Why am I always getting sick lately? I remember when I was never sick. Never! I took the train by god and no germs could touch me! Now, however, I have been coughing weakly and staring with great suspicion at anything which looks like food. Which is to say, anything. This has only been compounded by the smell of my kitchen, which I have not walked into for a week. You think I am joking but I am not. We came back from holiday to find the power had gone off and tripped a fuse, which meant everything had been off. Including the fridge and freezer. For a week. A WEEK. Thank god Mr T dealt with all of that because in my sickened state I couldn’t even face it. We have three fridges and two freezers and all of them were mouldy. Currently they are filled with nothing but giant mounds of baking soda and, funnily enough, ground coffee. The coffee is really doing the trick. There’s a tip for you, should you ever need to throw out $500 worth of spoiled meat. And I sincerely hope you don’t.
Little dog is back, and is… pretty big now actually. He went to his breeder’s house and played 23 hours a day with his sister and three other dogs. He’s exhausted. Also skinny, as he walks away from his bowl (an only dog, obviously) and the other four fling themselves towards the unattended food like homing missiles. Three weeks and he never learned that if he turned his back on dinner, it was NEVER THERE when he came back. The cats, on the other hand, are fat and glossy. I have no idea what they were feeding them but they are in far better condition than when we dropped them off. Sushi? Avocado oil? I should find out, they look like a shampoo ad.
Why yes, I have been overseas again. I am turning into quite the cosmopolitan jetset traveller. Not by choice, this time, but due to my work’s conference, which was great. Sitting by the pool, day tripping around the country – what’s not to love. I had a great time, right up until the point where people started falling ill left and right around me. And then I still had a great time, because I (miraculously) did not get sick myself. Apparently the Gastro Event Of Extreme Horror I went through last year may have better equipped me to handle similar things in the future. Which is good, because MY GOD I did not want to get that sick again. So I survive, with just the faintest touch of frailty and digestive upset. Then again, the same thing pretty much happened after our USA trip, so apparently a trifling change of diet is enough to upset me. (Mmmm, trifle.) Sorry, sidetracked. Want to see some elephants?
This was amazing, clearly. Watching this many elephants together (about 40 all up) made it really obvious what a social animal they are. Lots of play-fighting, pushing, poking with trunks, and rolling around in the mud and the water together. There were three small elephants that were totally submerged for most of the time, with just their trunks poking out of the water, as they formed and re-formed a big underwater elephant knot. This is an elephant orphanage, by the way, where they’re raised and then released back into the wild. Which is pretty much the other side of the river, to be honest.
What else? Oh, I took this photo on the plane over; it’s my view between the seats in front of me. Unfortunately my sneak photo-taking skillz need some work, but the lady in front of me had been watching Lord of the Rings and then paused it to take a three-hour nap, with the screen tilted in such a way that I could see it. Sadly for me, she paused it right on a scene where Frodo is passed out and staring blankly out of the screen with those big empty eyes, and I kept catching this disturbing image out of the corner of my own eye. Disconcerting.
Anyway, after my trip I returned home to find my laundry being ripped out. Yay! I have been wanting to do this since we walked through the house when considering buying it. Our kitchen has a little laundry room tacked on the end of it, and the plan has always been to smash out the wall dividing them and make it into one larger space. Now that wall is gone, and also the cupboard that used to be the entire end of the laundry room. LOOK AT THAT WALLPAPER. Just look at it.That had been hidden by the cupboard, by the way, so I had only seem glimpses of its magnificence before this. And it turns out that before this was a laundry cupboard, it was actually a toilet (see the roof cornices dividing it off, plus the louvre windows at the end). I can only think you would do your business and get the HELL OUT as soon as possible.
Luckily for us, one of our best mates has a home handyman-type business, so he and Mr. T are destroying the house together. Well, when I say Mr. T is involved, I believe he is in charge of making the coffees and fetching the left-handed screwdrivers. Also keeping the Little Dog out of the way, since he seems to have no sense of self-preservation. He walks into the path of swinging hammers, lies down in grout, sniffs running power tools, and yet is scared of the metal tape measure. Anyway, ripping up the laundry has revealed no less than four different types of tiles/lino under the sub-floor, as well as some rotting floorboards due to water damage, which have been removed to be replaced.
Unfortunately, having holes in the floor makes me morbidly conscious of rats, and having the cats flitting around getting into everything just makes me jumpier. When a sinuous furry thing come slinking out from under cabinets, my first thought is not GET OUT OF THERE CAT but instead a visceral GAAAAAAAH GIANT RAT KICK IT KILL IT KILL IT. My cats are lucky to still be alive, is what I’m saying. I mean, I’ve never seen a giant ginger rat, but there’s a first time for everything.
We are not rats. We are LOVELY.
We went to Gippsland for the Queen’s Birthday three-day weekend. Did you go? Funny, I didn’t see you there. I did see a Big Dog there:
I ONLY HAS A PLASTIC BOTTLE TO LOVE
Honest to god, how big is that dog? 42 kilos, to be exact. He is eating like a sumo wrestler, but at least you can see where the food is going. I haven’t had a puppy before and I have been shocked, SHOCKED at how much he eats. When he’s an adult he will eat about half of his current intake; I feel like I’m trying to keep a teenager in Weetbix.
Anyway, apart from chewing on bottles, we did a bit of motorbike riding. Hard-core motorbike riding. Wait, that should be in caps: HARD-CORE motorbike riding. Also to be said with that echo boom voice. Oh yes. Exhibit A below:
I’m not sure what my favourite thing about this photo is: the delight of Mr. T in wresting this bike from a six year old, or said forlorn six year old in the background. What goes around comes around, and (unsurprisingly) Mr. T cracked his knee on the handlebars very soon afterwards. Hey, at least he didn’t ride it into the dam.
What I think I’ll do is just post random pictures and tell you about them, rather than trying to do some huge uber-entry. Can I do umlauts in WordPress? I’m not sure. Your uber will have to be served without an umlaut this time round, sorry.
This is in Port Angeles, Washington state. You might know Port Angeles as the home of Twilight (although I guess that is Forks, and I went there too. I digress. You’re probably used to it.) Anyway, Port Angeles. We stopped here at the farmers market and ate a gigantic plate of steamed clams with butter. And directly afterwards we went to a diner-thing and I ate a dungeness crab sandwich for lunch. It was delicious. But my point: to get to the farmers market we had to cross the road. A normal road, with a pedestrian crossing and clear visibility, through a shopping strip. And tulips too, which was nice. But on the poles of this pedestrian crossing were these crosswalk flags, and instructions on how to use them. You were supposed to take a huge, fluoro-orange flag and walk across the road with it. Like a small child. In the middle of a shopping strip. I was amazed. Mr. T was less than impressed. Well, you can probably guess how this went down.
“My god! You’re supposed to cross the road with a flag.”
“I’m not carrying a flag.”
“You have to! Clearly it’s the rules here. Look. Read the sign. You have to take a flag.”
“I am NOT. Carrying a flag across the road.”
“TAKE A FLAG.”
“Fuck your flag. YOU carry a flag.”
“It’s my BIRTHDAY. [It was, too.] I want you to carry a flag. It will be my present.”
“There is no way.”
“OK, I will carry a flag and you walk beside me.”
“Nobody is carrying a flag. I will stay on this side of the road forever before I touch one of those flags.”
“I hate you.”
So ultimately we dared the traffic (the occasional car was going at about 10 miles per hour) and crossed the road without a flag. Daredevils! And unfortunately on our way back to the car, we were further down the road and crossed at traffic lights, an intersection sadly bereft of flags. Letdown.
We didn’t see anyone else cross the road, so I still have no idea if people were truly supposed to take a flag. I imagine there would have been more takers if they promised to ward against werewolves, but this wasn’t mentioned. Wasted opportunity, there.
Clams and oysters. I ate so much seafood on this trip. Mostly with butter.
La Push beach. Severe absence of werewolves. Still pretty though.
Look, it’s the internet! HIIII INTERNET. Here I am. Did you miss me? (Great silence) See, that’s what I thought. Fickle internet! Now you’re onto your new sporadic-posting, giant-dog-having blogger of the moment! And I even updated my template (again). For you. FOR YOU, INTERNET. Oh the humanity.
Anyway, my most recent absence has been to to my parents visiting Melbourne for my mum’s 60th birthday, which has been fun. It also means my house has been cleaned to the apex of its possible cleanliness. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that my mum, and my sister to an even greater extent, are compulsively tidy people. By that I mean that yes, they clean, but more properly they Neaten. Neither will leave a room if there is a mug or a newspaper or a pair of shoes that should be whisked into their correct place. They will wipe down the bathroom sink before they leave the bathroom. They hang up clothes after they wear them. Me? I am not a Neatener. I am sort of its polar opposite: a Messener. Yes, I’m totally making up words here. You see where I’m going with this. Anyway, it’s not like my mum doesn’t know this, being my mum and all, but she is my houseguest and so if I don’t clean stuff up, she will get up and do it instead, negating the Guest part. So I have been strenuously houseproud for about two weeks now and damn, it does not come naturally. I wish it did, because my house is so much nicer to live in, but it is totally against my slovenly nature. And by that, I mean that I will leave a mug on the side table overnight. For a few days, even. Shoes will build up by the front door (mostly due to Mr. T, who is unfortunately a fellow Messener). The bathroom sink gets hair and toothpaste on it as well as the necklace I wore last week and the glass of water I drank the week before that. Clean washing builds up in a big pile instead of being folded and put away immediately. It’s not a Pit of Filth, but it’s far from the home of a Neatener, if you know what I mean. Anyway, if anyone knows some sort of shock therapy or something to make you enjoy Neatening, please let me know. Or just apply the electrodes directly to my scalp. I love surprises!
I have no more photos of the dog, surprisingly, but here is an update: he is either ripping things to bits (sheepskins, soft toys, bones) or fast asleep after having been to dog daycare. Have I told you the dog goes to daycare? It is HILARIOUS. We want to keep him well socialised around other dogs, so he goes to daycare a couple of days a week and romps around with tiny, tiny puppies. They still class him as a puppy so he’s in with dogs about the size of his head. He’s very gentle apparently, so he gets to stay with them rather than moving in with the big dogs. He comes home completely exhausted, staggers into the house, eats his dinner, and falls asleep immediately for about 14 hours. It’s brilliant. They also give you a little sheet telling you all about what he’s done during the day and who his best friend was. ADORABLE. Hey, I guess if you’re paying for daycare, you get the full daycare experience. No webcam unfortunately but possibly that’s for the best.
And although I can’t find photos of the dog, I have found more of the trip. This one is from one of the freeways, driving into Seattle. State freeways and highways are numbered, of course, and here in Victoria they’re usually in a shield or a circle or something. Nothing so boring for Washington state, however:
The road numbers were in a Big Head. The big head of, you’ll notice, Washington. Big Head! Of Washington! Awesome, I tell you. Hey, if you have a legitimate reason to include Washington in your signage, I am totally in favour of using his Big Head everywhere you can.
… and then what happened?
O HAI. Yes, I disappeared. Sorry about that. Well, not really, because I was on holiday. Yay! Holiday! We went to the USA and Canada. Have I mentioned this trip? I can’t even remember. Anyway, Mr. T had a conference in Dallas and so we used his free flight as an excuse to poke around in the northern hemisphere. As such, I flew into Seattle as his conference finished and he flew up and met me there. Then we went all round Washington and Oregon states, then up to Canada: Vancouver, Whistler, Banff and Jasper. It was great. Well, of course it was; it was a holiday. I have only one camera downloaded so far, which is the Good Camera, so it has all the scenic shots, like so:
I know. I would like to be back there right now. Maligne Lake in Canada. Sigh. Usually it’s bluer and, you know, waterier; but I am from New Zealand and beautiful lakes are everywhere. Beautiful FROZEN lakes, however, are a total novelty to me and I LOVED them.
Anyway, I’m back, the house is a bombsite, the cats are back from the cattery and they are freaked THE HELL out. Also they smell like bleach. That’s a good thing, I’m thinking, as the place is clearly scrubbed to within an inch of its life; however I hope they weren’t actually bleaching the cats. I mean, the ginger one could do with a bit more blonde, but that’s a bit extreme.
More updates to follow, once I get my A into G and shake this jetlag. How have you been, internet?