What I never got round to mentioning yesterday is that I was woken at 9am by the new!vets calling to bring Spike's first appointment forward, so now this happens on Monday instead of April 1st. I was a bit irked because I felt April Fool's Day was particularly appropriate for Spike and I and must therefore be propitious, but on the other hand, the sooner the better so, whatev.

So today Mum and I took the dogs to try on and buy shiny new proper car riding seatbelt harnesses. Up until now, they've had occasion to ride in a car maybe twice a year tops, so I've always just dealt with it by sitting in the back with them and hanging the hell on. But the new vet is something like a forty minute drive away and although Spike actually loves riding in cars, he's a compulsive backseat driver, constitutionally incapable of sitting still for more than thirty seconds together without a general anaesthetic and gets very very overexcited. It makes travelling with him exhausting. Squish is rather better - give him a cracked-open window to press his nose against and all's right in Squishworld - but having both of them in an enclosed space like that ramps up both their anxiety levels and the whole thing tends to be a bit of an ordeal.

I am massively pleased by the new harnesses, and also by the happy discovery that Spike's is MUCH easier than his old harness for just walking him about on; it's got much better shock absorption and is much less prone to work itself loose too. The old harnesses can now be left in the utility room to be spares.

Dad's funeral happens in Iran tomorrow. My family are marking the occasion by getting together, and I've potentially hurt and pissed them off by flatly refusing to go. I do care, but I am at my limit here. Spike's health, unlike our collective loss and grief, actually requires me to do something about it and for that reason it has to take priority. And I need tomorrow to stay home with my dogs, not see anyone and have nothing happen. Dad loved Spike when they met, and he will understand. Everyone else will just have to deal.
What I never got round to mentioning yesterday is that I was woken at 9am by the new!vets calling to bring Spike's first appointment forward, so now this happens on Monday instead of April 1st. I was a bit irked because I felt April Fool's Day was particularly appropriate for Spike and I and must therefore be propitious, but on the other hand, the sooner the better so, whatev.

So today Mum and I took the dogs to try on and buy shiny new proper car riding seatbelt harnesses. Up until now, they've had occasion to ride in a car maybe twice a year tops, so I've always just dealt with it by sitting in the back with them and hanging the hell on. But the new vet is something like a forty minute drive away and although Spike actually loves riding in cars, he's a compulsive backseat driver, constitutionally incapable of sitting still for more than thirty seconds together without a general anaesthetic and gets very very overexcited. It makes travelling with him exhausting. Squish is rather better - give him a cracked-open window to press his nose against and all's right in Squishworld - but having both of them in an enclosed space like that ramps up both their anxiety levels and the whole thing tends to be a bit of an ordeal.

I am massively pleased by the new harnesses, and also by the happy discovery that Spike's is MUCH easier than his old harness for just walking him about on; it's got much better shock absorption and is much less prone to work itself loose too. The old harnesses can now be left in the utility room to be spares.

Dad's funeral happens in Iran tomorrow. My family are marking the occasion by getting together, and I've potentially hurt and pissed them off by flatly refusing to go. I do care, but I am at my limit here. Spike's health, unlike our collective loss and grief, actually requires me to do something about it and for that reason it has to take priority. And I need tomorrow to stay home with my dogs, not see anyone and have nothing happen. Dad loved Spike when they met, and he will understand. Everyone else will just have to deal.
Today my niece Maya turned three. My sister is an awesome woman and is having two birthday parties; today's was only family and a couple of close friends, barbecue, Pimm's and cake. Tomorrow is an alcohol-free pirate-themed shindig for twenty-odd three-year-olds and their handlers, and sister T. is far too kind and clever to try and force her childfree sisters to come to that one.

...though I was a bit tempted when I saw the pirate costumes and skull-and-crossbones cupcakes.

There were two friends from T's work there, or one work colleague and her brother, I'm not sure which. They were kindred spirits. The male one was in charge of the music and so as well as Pimm's and barbecue there was Led Zep and the Ramones and Deep Purple. One of Maya's presents was a great big easel-thing with a huge roll of paper that slides down over it, and she and I spent a happy hour collaborating on a huge glorious fingerpainting. I wanted to show you a picture of it (and Maya and I covered in paint) but my mother's lost the connector lead for her camera so slight fail. Take my word for it, it was AWESOME.

For you colonials who may not know about Pimm's, it's this. It is the best possible thing to drink on an English summer's day with barbecued things and a nice garden with congenial people and classic rock, and I have had quite a lot of it. And extra cake to take home too.

Best party EVER. Srsly.
Today my niece Maya turned three. My sister is an awesome woman and is having two birthday parties; today's was only family and a couple of close friends, barbecue, Pimm's and cake. Tomorrow is an alcohol-free pirate-themed shindig for twenty-odd three-year-olds and their handlers, and sister T. is far too kind and clever to try and force her childfree sisters to come to that one.

...though I was a bit tempted when I saw the pirate costumes and skull-and-crossbones cupcakes.

There were two friends from T's work there, or one work colleague and her brother, I'm not sure which. They were kindred spirits. The male one was in charge of the music and so as well as Pimm's and barbecue there was Led Zep and the Ramones and Deep Purple. One of Maya's presents was a great big easel-thing with a huge roll of paper that slides down over it, and she and I spent a happy hour collaborating on a huge glorious fingerpainting. I wanted to show you a picture of it (and Maya and I covered in paint) but my mother's lost the connector lead for her camera so slight fail. Take my word for it, it was AWESOME.

For you colonials who may not know about Pimm's, it's this. It is the best possible thing to drink on an English summer's day with barbecued things and a nice garden with congenial people and classic rock, and I have had quite a lot of it. And extra cake to take home too.

Best party EVER. Srsly.
D-Day )
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D-Day )
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Oh holy fucking shit, my father's coming here. To England. In less than two weeks.

...It's not that I don't love him. I do love him. It's not even that I don't want to see him. I do. But I haven't seen him in nearly twenty years, and we never got on very well when we were on the same continent. And... well, it's complicated.

It also means I have to clean. Like really clean. In two fucking weeks. And that isn't even why I'm going into panic tailspin meltdown here.

...Like I said, it's complicated.

*flail*
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Oh holy fucking shit, my father's coming here. To England. In less than two weeks.

...It's not that I don't love him. I do love him. It's not even that I don't want to see him. I do. But I haven't seen him in nearly twenty years, and we never got on very well when we were on the same continent. And... well, it's complicated.

It also means I have to clean. Like really clean. In two fucking weeks. And that isn't even why I'm going into panic tailspin meltdown here.

...Like I said, it's complicated.

*flail*
Tags:
Today my baby niece Maya met my dogs for the first time. Mum finally got a car seat installed so she can drive Maya around when she babysits - so she brought her to visit, and we all went to the park.

Spike was utterly awesome, as I knew he would be. My dogs may suck in a variety of situations but they are reliably good with small children, and they adore them. The evil bugger fawned over Maya beautifully and oh so gently. He showed off his mad dancing and tree climbing skillz to Maya's amusement, and he impressed my Mum by responding accurately to my "Where's Maya?" command within three minutes of seeing her for the first time.

...It's a no brainer for a Border Collie. Squish can find a ball on command but he's not capable of generalising that to finding anything else he happens to know the name of. Spike can do that easily. He did not know Maya's name, but he knew she wasn't Granny or Ball or Squish so he figured lying at her feet when I said "where's Maya?" was a safe bet. I love my clever dick dog.

Squish is not clever in quite the same way, but he is very adorable and happy and has long silky ears and made Maya giggle a lot by covering her in happy dog kisses at every opportunity. I love my silly spotted dog.

...My niece is pretty damn cool too. She's - what, two and a half now? The same age as Naamah cat, anyhow, they were born within a week of each other. She's old enough to hold conversations with and she speaks clearly and doesn't shriek. And she loves dogs and cats. And now that Mum can drive her around I should see a lot more of her - this makes me happy.
Today my baby niece Maya met my dogs for the first time. Mum finally got a car seat installed so she can drive Maya around when she babysits - so she brought her to visit, and we all went to the park.

Spike was utterly awesome, as I knew he would be. My dogs may suck in a variety of situations but they are reliably good with small children, and they adore them. The evil bugger fawned over Maya beautifully and oh so gently. He showed off his mad dancing and tree climbing skillz to Maya's amusement, and he impressed my Mum by responding accurately to my "Where's Maya?" command within three minutes of seeing her for the first time.

...It's a no brainer for a Border Collie. Squish can find a ball on command but he's not capable of generalising that to finding anything else he happens to know the name of. Spike can do that easily. He did not know Maya's name, but he knew she wasn't Granny or Ball or Squish so he figured lying at her feet when I said "where's Maya?" was a safe bet. I love my clever dick dog.

Squish is not clever in quite the same way, but he is very adorable and happy and has long silky ears and made Maya giggle a lot by covering her in happy dog kisses at every opportunity. I love my silly spotted dog.

...My niece is pretty damn cool too. She's - what, two and a half now? The same age as Naamah cat, anyhow, they were born within a week of each other. She's old enough to hold conversations with and she speaks clearly and doesn't shriek. And she loves dogs and cats. And now that Mum can drive her around I should see a lot more of her - this makes me happy.
Today: my niece's first birthday party. I was originally not going to go, since my mother was spending the entire day (and possibly sleeping over) and I wasn't happy leaving the dogs for that long; but my other sister was down from London and going for a shorter time so I went with them. The party happened at Honeybrook Farm and was fun. Goats and geese and pigs and ponies, and sister T had rented their hall and filled it with food and friends... mostly people I either didn't know at all or had met once, but hey, new friends.

And while I did eat too much, over half of it was fresh strawberries and raspberries and a tomato salad-thing with olives, so yay healthy! I didn't even put cream on the strawbs.

Two of the guests had brought their dogs: an adorable chocolate lab bitch and a stunning amber-eyed black rescued greyhound. I petted and loved them and idly wondered what it would be like to have dogs capable of sitting quietly or pottering round gently on-leash in a place full of goats and poultry and small children. I really ought to get out more.

Also? I really, really really would like to have goats some day. Not enough people appreciate the beauty of goats.
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Today: my niece's first birthday party. I was originally not going to go, since my mother was spending the entire day (and possibly sleeping over) and I wasn't happy leaving the dogs for that long; but my other sister was down from London and going for a shorter time so I went with them. The party happened at Honeybrook Farm and was fun. Goats and geese and pigs and ponies, and sister T had rented their hall and filled it with food and friends... mostly people I either didn't know at all or had met once, but hey, new friends.

And while I did eat too much, over half of it was fresh strawberries and raspberries and a tomato salad-thing with olives, so yay healthy! I didn't even put cream on the strawbs.

Two of the guests had brought their dogs: an adorable chocolate lab bitch and a stunning amber-eyed black rescued greyhound. I petted and loved them and idly wondered what it would be like to have dogs capable of sitting quietly or pottering round gently on-leash in a place full of goats and poultry and small children. I really ought to get out more.

Also? I really, really really would like to have goats some day. Not enough people appreciate the beauty of goats.
Tags:
Latest Saffron and Hamish news )
Latest Saffron and Hamish news )
Heh. Spike found a child's toy plastic rugby ball on a walk a week ago and it's his favourite toy ever in the whole world. He's played with it every day since we found it, and every day I've finished up by parking it in the fork of a tree for us to play with the next day. And every day it's been that tiny bit harder to get him to give it up.

Bribery doesn't work because there is nothing in the world I can give him he wants more than that ball. I usually use some form of subterfuge - not outright lying to him but being obscure enough that he can't be certain whether I want it to put away or to throw for him. The other thing that works is getting him worked up over leash tuggy or humping my arm or jumping up and down so that he drops it, and then being quick enough to grab his collar before he can pick it up again.

None of it worked today. He won. He's now triumphantly fondling it on the dog couch. I tried to use the "off switch" that I use to tell him to let go of leash tuggy - firmly take hold of it without pulling and say LET GO - and he glared at me over the top of it and came closer to growling at me in earnest than he ever has in his life.

I love having a dog I have to work hard to outthink. Luckily, my mother is on her way over to pick me up for family winterthing obligations. That will work.

Much later

That worked. But after I whipped the ball into the cupboard while he was greeting Mum, he broke my heart by searching frantically for it everywhere. And then I had to leave him.

Winterthing turned out pretty marvellous in the end. It's easy to forget what great people and great company my family are. Someone remind me of that when I'm working myself into a miserable funk this time next year. They're worth it. I am so damn lucky. I wish you all at least as much joy as I've been having.
Heh. Spike found a child's toy plastic rugby ball on a walk a week ago and it's his favourite toy ever in the whole world. He's played with it every day since we found it, and every day I've finished up by parking it in the fork of a tree for us to play with the next day. And every day it's been that tiny bit harder to get him to give it up.

Bribery doesn't work because there is nothing in the world I can give him he wants more than that ball. I usually use some form of subterfuge - not outright lying to him but being obscure enough that he can't be certain whether I want it to put away or to throw for him. The other thing that works is getting him worked up over leash tuggy or humping my arm or jumping up and down so that he drops it, and then being quick enough to grab his collar before he can pick it up again.

None of it worked today. He won. He's now triumphantly fondling it on the dog couch. I tried to use the "off switch" that I use to tell him to let go of leash tuggy - firmly take hold of it without pulling and say LET GO - and he glared at me over the top of it and came closer to growling at me in earnest than he ever has in his life.

I love having a dog I have to work hard to outthink. Luckily, my mother is on her way over to pick me up for family winterthing obligations. That will work.

Much later

That worked. But after I whipped the ball into the cupboard while he was greeting Mum, he broke my heart by searching frantically for it everywhere. And then I had to leave him.

Winterthing turned out pretty marvellous in the end. It's easy to forget what great people and great company my family are. Someone remind me of that when I'm working myself into a miserable funk this time next year. They're worth it. I am so damn lucky. I wish you all at least as much joy as I've been having.
lizblackdog: (Abby: Kidding?)
( Oct. 14th, 2006 07:49 pm)
so tired and fed up today.

spike is in full-on fucking annoying psycho hosebeast mode despite a soccer game with Chico and the Shih Tzu Crew. Kittens are rocketing up and down the hallway and quite literally bouncing off the walls after being mostly shut-in for two days to give Cassie some peace. Squish gets rather freaked-out by ballistic catmissiles after a bit, especially since they've ricocheted off him (and me, and Spike) a few times.

tomorrow: Mum's birthday. I have to walk over to her house, leave my dogs there and spend the day with her, both my sisters and my niece.

it's not that I don't love my family. it's not even that I don't enjoy seeing them. it's just... I suppose I don't like the reflection of myself I see in their eyes. I don't look forward to spending several hours as that person.

also, I appear to have ringworm. In my armpit. None of the pets have it, so I assume it's a new phase in the fungal takeover bid that started with The Athlete's Foot That Wouldn't Die. TAFTWD has been living on my right foot for the best part of a year now, despite daily treatment with miconazole, clotrimazole, tolnaftate, tea tree oil and terbinafine - not all at once, I just kept finding myself finishing tubes of ointment without the damn thing dying off, so I'd try something different every time. The creams and powder (mostly) stop it flaring into the red blisters and the gnaw-your-foot-off itching, but that's all. I believe it to be a genetically-engineered immortal version of the fungus, probably created by the companies that make the damn cream. It's also probably evolved enough intelligence to know a sucker when it meets one. I should probably just give in and give it a name and its own food bowl.

one good thing happened today. I taught the kittens not to climb on my damn window blinds any more. I'm almost sorry they learn so fast. There's a certain satisfaction in hitting the riotous little sods with a jet of water - and I only had to hit Hamish and Naamah twice each and Cassie once for them all to get the idea.
lizblackdog: (Abby: Kidding?)
( Oct. 14th, 2006 07:49 pm)
so tired and fed up today.

spike is in full-on fucking annoying psycho hosebeast mode despite a soccer game with Chico and the Shih Tzu Crew. Kittens are rocketing up and down the hallway and quite literally bouncing off the walls after being mostly shut-in for two days to give Cassie some peace. Squish gets rather freaked-out by ballistic catmissiles after a bit, especially since they've ricocheted off him (and me, and Spike) a few times.

tomorrow: Mum's birthday. I have to walk over to her house, leave my dogs there and spend the day with her, both my sisters and my niece.

it's not that I don't love my family. it's not even that I don't enjoy seeing them. it's just... I suppose I don't like the reflection of myself I see in their eyes. I don't look forward to spending several hours as that person.

also, I appear to have ringworm. In my armpit. None of the pets have it, so I assume it's a new phase in the fungal takeover bid that started with The Athlete's Foot That Wouldn't Die. TAFTWD has been living on my right foot for the best part of a year now, despite daily treatment with miconazole, clotrimazole, tolnaftate, tea tree oil and terbinafine - not all at once, I just kept finding myself finishing tubes of ointment without the damn thing dying off, so I'd try something different every time. The creams and powder (mostly) stop it flaring into the red blisters and the gnaw-your-foot-off itching, but that's all. I believe it to be a genetically-engineered immortal version of the fungus, probably created by the companies that make the damn cream. It's also probably evolved enough intelligence to know a sucker when it meets one. I should probably just give in and give it a name and its own food bowl.

one good thing happened today. I taught the kittens not to climb on my damn window blinds any more. I'm almost sorry they learn so fast. There's a certain satisfaction in hitting the riotous little sods with a jet of water - and I only had to hit Hamish and Naamah twice each and Cassie once for them all to get the idea.
Dog pics. May include cat. )

can I say again that this heat is killing me? Or something is. My legs ache, my head aches, my brain couldn't think its way out of a wet paper bag and a seven-minute walk to the grocery store feels like climbing fucking Everest - only without the snow. Oh, and my fucking ELBOW is playing up again.

got dragged over to sister T's to visit mum and niecething and have a Family Conference last night. Mum is looking immeasurably better. That ghastly swelling (ascites) has vanished, her colour's back to normal, she's starting to have more energy.

Family conference was about Grimmauld Place. Mum's friend Nigel had a key cut and went there with a prospective cleaning lady. Cleaning lady took one look and refused to have anything to do with it.

When Mum told me about this on the phone she was expecting me to go over there and deal with it myself before she'd go near the place again. Sister T said much the same thing, and added that a. I'm not entitled to whine about feeling crappy because I am not raising an OMGBABY, and b. she's liable to strangle Mum before much longer so I have to CLEAN NOW IMMEDIATELY THIS MINUTE.

Mum firmly believes that the place was a gleaming Better Homes showpiece before I moved in there and turned it into a pigsty, by the way. Never mind the contents of five other households that she's crammed in there, never mind the ten long years of not cleaning before I moved in, and the year of not cleaning and forgetting to empty the litterbox after I moved out - it's all my fault, my mess and mine only. Because of course, Mum doesn't shit, pee, cook, eat, spill things or get dirty, and her cat doesn't shit, pee, eat or shed hair. *rolleyes*

Thankfully, when the whole family got together on it, sanity prevailed - that, and they know damn well I won't clean the place single-handed. The plan is that when sister T can drive again in a week or so, she's going to drive Mum and I there and we're going to tackle it together. It's still going to be a ghastly grind of a job, but at least I'm no longer expected to tackle it alone from the ground up when I'm not even up to the walk over there at the moment. Huge relief.

even though I was driven there and back last night, the whole thing still knocked the stuffing out of me - or perhaps there wasn't any stuffing to knock in the first place, I dunno. All I've had the energy to do today is lie on the couch watching BSG and some desultory message board posting.

Highlight of my day: watching Squish and Cassie hunt flies. Squish is the more spectacular hunter with his giant balletic leaps, flying ears and clopping jaws, but Cassie is just as dedicated and far more efficient. Between the two of them, the odd fly that wanders in through the mostly-shut windows has a life expectancy of approximately four minutes. If it's lucky.

Not only that, but she eats the ones she kills. Oh how I love living with predators!

P.S. Yes, I am using the same soundtrack two days running. I can't stop playing this particular song at the moment. Will upload it for anyone interested. Love it love it love it love it.
Dog pics. May include cat. )

can I say again that this heat is killing me? Or something is. My legs ache, my head aches, my brain couldn't think its way out of a wet paper bag and a seven-minute walk to the grocery store feels like climbing fucking Everest - only without the snow. Oh, and my fucking ELBOW is playing up again.

got dragged over to sister T's to visit mum and niecething and have a Family Conference last night. Mum is looking immeasurably better. That ghastly swelling (ascites) has vanished, her colour's back to normal, she's starting to have more energy.

Family conference was about Grimmauld Place. Mum's friend Nigel had a key cut and went there with a prospective cleaning lady. Cleaning lady took one look and refused to have anything to do with it.

When Mum told me about this on the phone she was expecting me to go over there and deal with it myself before she'd go near the place again. Sister T said much the same thing, and added that a. I'm not entitled to whine about feeling crappy because I am not raising an OMGBABY, and b. she's liable to strangle Mum before much longer so I have to CLEAN NOW IMMEDIATELY THIS MINUTE.

Mum firmly believes that the place was a gleaming Better Homes showpiece before I moved in there and turned it into a pigsty, by the way. Never mind the contents of five other households that she's crammed in there, never mind the ten long years of not cleaning before I moved in, and the year of not cleaning and forgetting to empty the litterbox after I moved out - it's all my fault, my mess and mine only. Because of course, Mum doesn't shit, pee, cook, eat, spill things or get dirty, and her cat doesn't shit, pee, eat or shed hair. *rolleyes*

Thankfully, when the whole family got together on it, sanity prevailed - that, and they know damn well I won't clean the place single-handed. The plan is that when sister T can drive again in a week or so, she's going to drive Mum and I there and we're going to tackle it together. It's still going to be a ghastly grind of a job, but at least I'm no longer expected to tackle it alone from the ground up when I'm not even up to the walk over there at the moment. Huge relief.

even though I was driven there and back last night, the whole thing still knocked the stuffing out of me - or perhaps there wasn't any stuffing to knock in the first place, I dunno. All I've had the energy to do today is lie on the couch watching BSG and some desultory message board posting.

Highlight of my day: watching Squish and Cassie hunt flies. Squish is the more spectacular hunter with his giant balletic leaps, flying ears and clopping jaws, but Cassie is just as dedicated and far more efficient. Between the two of them, the odd fly that wanders in through the mostly-shut windows has a life expectancy of approximately four minutes. If it's lucky.

Not only that, but she eats the ones she kills. Oh how I love living with predators!

P.S. Yes, I am using the same soundtrack two days running. I can't stop playing this particular song at the moment. Will upload it for anyone interested. Love it love it love it love it.
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