Month: September 2018

Her tail stopped wagging…

Yesterday was one of those bloody days.

Through the night Mazikeen could not settle and all in all was moping about and generally restless through the night, making funny noises and the odd whimper.  We thought, this is it, she is going to have her first season (in-heat), as some dogs react that way, but alas no.  In the morning after a shocking night of sleeplessness, I discovered that her tail was sore, and was not wagging.  My thoughts immediately went to a broken tail.

We have a 24/7 vet phone service that is part of her insurance, so I called them to see what they suggested.  They can do a video chat so you can do a version of “show and tell”, but as with all technology that is new, it did not want to work on her side.  Her first question was “has she been swimming?” which deserved an answer of “yes and no”.  We had been to the beach on Thursday and she was in and out of the water, although she was soaked from top to bottom, she had not actually swum, just jumped about in the sea running after shells I was throwing in the water.  Her suggestion was that it could be a swim tail or broken.  I quickly explained that her tail was still wagging most of the evening, and the swim tail would be out, but a broken tail was possible.  Harper is twice the weight of Mazikeen, and they do love to play rough, but usually, this means Mazikeen dominating Harper and jumping on her, but I could not recall any rough arsing about.  She suggested getting her to the vets to get her tail x-rayed.

I called the vets at 8am and got an appointment later that morning.  The vet felt about her tail and found two places he thought it may be broken, and took her in for x-rays and examinations.  She had the first of the anaesthetic injections whilst I was there, and then I had to go so they could do their thing.  Just after 12 I was called and told to come and collect her after 1:30 and the vet would chat to me about his prognosis.  Duly at that time, I went to get her, and like the morning appointment, waited about for ages.  Eventually, I was called into one of the rooms with a nurse who explained that she had not broken it, so that was good news, but she had badly sprained it and that she needed some rest for the next few days, no rough playing and anti-inflammatories for the next 14 days which had a little painkiller in them to take the edge off for her.  

Today, her tail is wagging, not as fast as usual, and she is a little slow on her feet, but she is in good spirit.  So quite an expensive day for a sprain, however, our dogs are our kids, so we do not mind spending money on them, especially health, which I seem to go overboard with.

A little bit wet and dirty

One Year On…

No daft titles here today.

A year has flown by since Lilu passed away.  It is amazing how fast that seems to have gone.  8760 hours, that have ticked away without increasing speed, but in our minds, it seems like only yesterday we said goodbye to her and watched her silently pass from this world to the next, via the doggy rainbow that we have no access to.

All around we have our memories of her, on the walls, on the many bookcases, and I even have a tee shirt that has both Lilu and Harper (at 8 weeks old) on, which I have on today.

If I did not know better I would swear that Mazikeen is a reincarnation at times of Lilu.  She has so many of the same mannerisms and the same spirit of adventure.  Even the spiral staircase in the middle of the house was no obstacle to Lilu, and Mazikeen is the same, however, Harper puts her front paws on the first step and stands there waiting for us, never daring to climb even after watching the pup fly up and indeed when she was a pup herself watching Lilu go up, slowly as her walking was not the best after her spinal stroke, but she still wanted to go up, just for a potter about.  But I know by the Buddhist cycle of reincarnation that it is not possible, as they say, saṃsāra is an endless cycle without pause or end unless liberation is achieved by insight and the extinguishing of desire.

A year on and we still miss her like mad, and now and again emotions stir, a tear is shed, but the fun times and great memories are in abundance.  So I will leave you with a photo of her in one of her favourite places, the beach.

Lilu – Posing for a photograph before launching herself into the sea

Autumn in New York can be relentless…

 Or, maybe not.

Well, this week alone (8.5 days) will be coming to an end at 4pm BST when M finally gets passed back to me.  I am excited, I do not deny, but I will miss the silence.  I am odd like that, I enjoy silence, well as much as it can be silent, after all there is the high pitch whistle in my ears that gets quite loud, and maybe the quiet hum of the washing machine or dishwasher, and then there is the pattering about of the dogs, but it is silence to me.  No TV or radio, not even me playing music in the background.  How I lament silence.  But, all things, good and bad must come to an end.

I rose from my pit quite early for a Sunday 06:20 as the girls wanted out, so in the end, I was up with the partridge.  Dinner is cooked and now in the slow cooker ready for M and me when we get back from the Airport.  Everywhere is clean and tidy, but hey, this is a gay man’s house, so you should not be surprised.  Apart from currently doing laundry, all I have to do now is pop to the shops for butter and make a Victoria Sponge cake for M when he gets home.  He wanted fresh cream rather than buttercream, but then the cake has to be in the fridge and it goes hard, so he is having buttercream, but SHH!  Don’t tell him LOL.

I never go round to fixing the floor behind the dishwasher, but with good reason, or good excuse, you decide.  I need to pull out both the dishwasher and the washing machine, which means moving the dining table to the other end of the kitchen so I have room to work.  But then I need to assess what I need and then go to the hardware store to get the timber etc.  So far, no problem, but, the girls like to get in the way, and I know they are trying to help in their own way, with licks and moral support, but they are a bloody nuisance when all is said and done.  But, the real problem is I need an assistant that is two-legged, rather than four.  Not just for passing things, but holding things too in order to get it done right.  So, with this in mind, I told him that he would be my helper and I would do it next week.  With that job done all I have to do is re-line the cupboard I built at the end of the units and we are done. YAY!

I am reminded by a friend’s writing that what is important today will still be important tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year, because if it isn’t, then it isn’t important.  Mix that with M’s description of me doing jobs in the house, it will get done eventually, when he is ready to do it.  Both are so right, and if you put them together, they really do describe my workings in the house, if it is important, then it will get done, today, tomorrow, next week, month or year, but it will get done.

Breakfast In The Regency Period…

It is just after midnight Tuesday, so, technically, its now Wednesday.  Yesterday (Monday) was a busy one.  Up early as the girls insisted I began my list of “Things to do whilst M is away”.  Apart from several walks for the dogs I never stopped.  First was a deep clean of the kitchen.  I knew it needed doing but as our kitchen is so busy as can be seen in the photo (I like busy, but please note, the walls are a light green, not yellow, the photo was taken whilst the sun was out) you tend to miss things.  But with all deep cleaning in a kitchen, all the appliances need to be done, the dishwasher and washing machine are easy, add the product and they do it themselves.  Apart from the detergent draw in the washing machine, which never gets used as the liquid goes in the drum, so I had to do that by hand, and it was disgusting I am ashamed to say.  The cooker I removed all the parts and cleaned each one, and stripped the ovens (two) of everything and cleaned them thoroughly, and having a “Stoves” cooker all the doors have removable glass, so easier to clean.  Every object on shelves and units were removed and cleaned and put back, then the rest of the room was dusted within an inch of its life.

Next, was to shampoo all the carpets.  Luckily I had bought a new carpet cleaner, which is excellent, and one by one each room was done.  The living room carpet, the newest of them had that new carpet smell again, which is quite the sensory drug.

Bathroom next, which was not all that hard as we tend to clean the shower after each use, and always swill the basin out, and the toilet is always clean, so it is an easy room to do.  The biggest thing was polishing the giant mirror, but even that wasn’t hard as again I tend to keep polishing it, as I hate mucky mirrors.

Next job was to tackle the ivy growing around the house, mainly cutting it back from the windows, and trimming around the security lights so no shadows were cast.  As I was in the garden I planted new flowers for the baskets, the summer ones looked worse for wear and being summer plants and flowers do not do well in autumn, now we have cyclamen in them, and I will be doing some troughs to go outside the front gate when more come into season.

Final job of the day was to install a new electrical socket in the hall by the front door so the repeater can connect to the garden gate camera.  I have fitted so many sockets and changed so many from two to three ports over the years I thought I would have finished with this, but no, there is always somewhere else we need another.

Today, Tuesday, Mazikeen had a vet appointment, she goes every month to get weighed and get her worming tablets and a check over.  She is just over a year old and has never had a season, but the nurse said today that she was a little swelled up in various areas, so it looks like she will finally have her first, that is if this is not a phantom season, which can happen.  After that and a long walk with the dogs, I painted the master bedroom, only the first coat, but it was a start.  I was doing the edging and discovered the brushes I had were shit, that’s really the only way I can put it.  Off to the DIY centre to get a good sharp one, and whilst I was there, some magnetic catches for the cupboards and a new electrical socket with USB ports.  Apart from putting up some frames and making myself a curry from scratch, I decided I had had enough, and my lower back, right-hand side, was spasming, which told me to stop.

Tomorrow, Wednesday (which is now today as it is 00:38) I will be finishing off the painting, then starting my knitting again, which is The Great American Aran Afghan.  I had started it the other day, but it is in American English, which is an oxymoron in itself, translating it into correct English is a bit of a bind, to say the least.  For example, it states three ridges, which means knit six rows, so, why not just say knit six rows.  If you were next to me when I sussed out what this meant, you would have heard my eyes rolling never mind seen them with the added slow shake of my head.  I do hate that in English there is so bastardised, and do not get me started on spelling.  Anyway, I digress slightly.  I had started it, but due to this quirk in language the pattern reads wrong, and with wrong the WS rows are not mentioned, so you have to work that one out yourself, which my test showed that you have to to the WS as a reverse of the RS.

That’s the plan anyway, but as with the best-laid plans of mice and men, one can never be sure if it will change.

If you were wondering, yes, it is raining again, battering against the windows in fact.

Jumping Waterfalls…

From time to time I feel the need to have a clearout, this also includes my beloved iMac.  Today was a bit of a slow day, and that slowness was reflected in my computer.  It felt sluggish, and every time I went to Amazon the screen would lock up and I would have to switch off via the power and start up again.  I thought it may be chrome screwing things up, therefore uninstalled it, and installed a fresh download.  However, this was not the solution.  Chrome and Safari had also been partial loading sites, especially WordPress, and what was on screen seemed to be missing frames and general formatting.

Enough was enough.  I have 5 drives attached to my iMac, music, current photography, archive photography, expansion (documentation etc) and of course, the time machine.  With all these drives and an automated back up all I needed to do was a restart with a few buttons pressed and the process of formatting and reinstallation would begin.

Needless to say, I am back up and running, and my machine is running at top speed now.  Just an hour out of my time, I say an hour, but the machine did all the work, all I had to do was put in my passwords, and boom! it was done.

I am at a loss as to what the problem was as I use a program to clear memory, check for malware and viruses, and boost the running.  Apart from tracker cookies, nothing was ever found.  My iMac is early 2009, so maybe it’s an age thing?

The Air Raid Sirens Cut Through The Scaffold…

There is a field we take the dogs to so they can have a run about without the distraction of other dogs (usually), and Mazikeen can get all that pent up energy out by constantly running the whole time.  But the Hades had me in his sight.  We had done one circuit of the fields with several to go along with ball playing, but then the ambush!

A woman that goes there around lunchtime appeared through the bushes waving like we are long lost friends, and just to confirm, this was 9am.  Thankfully she was far enough away not to see my eyes rolling.  There was nowhere to run, and small talk joined this ever-increasing throng.

Her mutt was off his lead.  Mazikeen was off hers until I saw her, and being a responsible dog owner, put her on hers.  I hate when dogs come bounding over to my dogs with the immortal words from the inconsiderate owner “he only wants to play” or “it’s okay he is friendly”.  Quite frankly, I could not give a rats arse if he had a Nobel Peace Prize, keep your dogs away until I decide that I want my dogs to play with your rabid animal.  My dogs look to me for protection and that is what I will always do and stand between the oncoming hound and them.  Harper dropped her football and walked behind me as he bounded over.  He went to take her ball, to which my raised voice “No!” stopped him in his tracks.  He then decided to take a leap at Mazikeen, but she is super fast, and leapt backwards, again behind me and gave him a sharp bark, her version of “No!” My dogs know that safety is behind me, they have been trained well.  Unlike this woman’s dog, which she freely admits bites her to get his own way, and has bitten her husband many times too.  The dog is not bad, it just has little or no training and does not know what boundaries are.  She had asked my advice one time as my dogs sat next to me waiting for a release command.  I explained that she needs to be the Alpha in the pack reward training needs to be done, but she came out with an excuse of “but he won’t listen to me”.  At this point I gave up, why impart wisdom to the deaf?

Now, this bloody woman admitted that her dog does not get on with other dogs “when he is on his lead”, which means he does not like other dogs, full stop.  Last time her dog made a snarling face at Harper.  Now, Harper can hold her own, she is 22kg of solid muscle, but, with it, she is also a softy.  I moved her back away from him, as I could just imagine the problems if her dog did snap at one of mine due to its untrained temperament, my actions would be quick and harsh to it, nevermind Harper defending herself too.

I decided enough was enough, and after giving her my death stare started to move away with one eye on her teeth bearing dog.  Her parting words were, “I’ll let you go as you seem to have your hand full”.  I was close to saying, “yes, I have, keeping my dogs safe from your rabid mutt that should be on a lead and muzzled”, but decided to hold my tongue, knowing that this was her replacement for her son who had died about two years ago.  I can be cruel, heartless and downright callous, but I thought better of it, this time at least.

Evocative Titles Hold Their Own…

I decided that the common garden and dare I say, run of the mill titles in my posts needed a touch of intrigue and a dash of mysticism added to them.  With this in mind, I am mixing it up, my post titles will be a little odd from now on.  Let’s see how creatic=ve i can be, or not!

What’s life without whimsy?

So on and on the story goes…

An ode to an odd day…

M flew out to visit his parents yesterday morning.  We had to be up at 4:45 in order to get him to the Airport for 6 am check-in.  Not a hard feat but, all the same, I would have prefered to have been in my pit for a little longer.  The journey to the airport was its usual run and nothing new, however, as soon as we arrived the rain started.  M does not like flying at the best of times and in bad weather, he hates it.  The disabled assistance at the airport is my saviour, I handed him over to the company and from that point, they look after him for the duration of his journey, at the other end they collect his baggage and hand him over to his friend, thus no worries for me.  I returned home well after sunrise in torrential rain.  I was not aware that a so-called Indian summer included monsoon rainfall.

The rain, it never stops, but I do have places to go!  Dog walking, a rather wet affair, the girls were not too impressed in the end, well, I say the girls, I really mean Harper, she is not a lover of rain, however, the pup carried on like it was a normal thing, a Springer is only at home digging in the dirt.

I finally managed to get out and get some groceries, and of course the obligatory treats for the hounds.  But then the day seemed to grind to a halt, constant rain battered the windows and a feeling of being lost in my home started to consume me.  I needed something to do that I could relax with, yet my mind became vacant of all thoughts relating to that.  I have a mountain of things I will be doing whilst M is away, but I really wanted to try and relax over the weekend.  The mind-numbing silence was broken only by the persistent squeaks from the dogs’ toys.  Then the inevitable, the squeaking stopped and the deafening sound of silence was all consuming.  My only solace, Spotify!  However, even the throws of death metal indispersed with softer rock started to invade my physical space.  Finally, M called and a sense of normality prevailed, at least for a short while.

The Last Night of the Proms was on TV, as I have always watched it, last night was no exception, thus I opened a beer, sat on the floor so the animals could claim the sofa as their domain and mentally transported myself to the Royal Albert Hall amongst the throng of the Prommers.  But as with everything, it is all over too soon and my bed called to me.

The night was filled with the dogs cuddling up to me, or a more precise description would be lying on me, and Mazikeen feeling it appropriate to rest her very hairy neck and face across my nose and mouth, rendering breathing an impossibility.  A massive bed devoid of souls on M’s side.  This was a new fresh hell to add to my continuing saga.  Finally, they relented and let me sleep until 5:20 when it became toilet time for the pup.  Deep joy enveloped me having to drag my carcase out of a warm bed to stand naked in the cold of the hall whilst she did her pee, the rain still pouring and the winds whipping everything.  I managed only to stay in bed then until 7:30 when the dogs had finally decided it was time to rise.

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