Aug 30, 2010

Book Week

Happy Bunny After the Planetarium last week (most excellent success, vomiting aside (nothing to do with us, guv)) we had the good luck to be offered some material and sewing machine time round at little Liam's house.

Why? I hear you ask.

Well it was Book Week and as part of that, no doubt to celebrate everything literary, the kids were to go to school dressed as their favourite book character.

Eloise has selected Lettice, the little rabbit who gets to be flower girl at her dance teacher's wedding. You can see how that might push her buttons.

So for this project rabbit ears were required.

And that is the Why. Material and sewing machine time for to make Rabbit Ears.

Eloise got to learn how to cut material and work a sewing machine which was obviously very entertaining for her.

It all went a little wrong when we pitched up at school though; I think she was a bit taken aback by all the fancy dress and by the perplexed looks she got when she said she was Lettice, the little rabbit who gets to be flower girl at her dance teacher's wedding; of course no-one knew who that was, it not being a popular book, so Lettice was immediately dropped and I was sent home with the basket while she concocted a fallback story.

Aug 27, 2010


For Whom the Tolls Beep While Nicole and Eloise went to have their hair cut yesterday, I went for a wander around the river, crossing it on the Go-Between Bridge which opened a little while ago.

I'd thought that I'd taken ages but when I pitched up at the hairdressers (after two hours) I found that Nicole was still being operated on so Eloise and I went for a walk; Eloise had eaten nothing but cookies and marshmallows and was climbing the walls as well as sneaking up behind hairdressers and goosing them.... not good.

Aug 21, 2010

Election Day

ENG Today marks the zenith of the masochistic boredom-cum-irritation-fest of the Australian Election, where the Labor party ("They're the party that helps us have babies" - Eloise) finds itself, having thrown popularity and momentum to the wind in a spectacular display of political ineptitude, in a close-run battle with the Liberal Party, a carbon-copy of the Tories, except even more nasty.

Nastiness has been their watchword and approach, and as with advertising, a message repeated ad nauseam will stick no matter its content seems to have taken root.

And as Labor seem incapable of responding to the negativity in a positive way, the whole thing has descended into name-calling, history-re-writing and the perpetuation of bogus accusations made from opposition with the media right in there, stirring things up and trying to make a drama out of no crisis.

At least we are free from the obligation to vote. I'd be voting green as there's not much to separate the other two crowds, who have raced for the centre (read right) and frankly have no principles left that couldn't easily fall by the wayside in the quest for Power.

So it's been pretty unpleasant and yet at the same time if not quite fascinating in an absorbing way, then fascinating in a tawdry tabloid way.

As for us, we are getting back to the old routine, minus one, and returning to a new kind of normal.

Matilda seems OK. She sneaked into Paul and Carol's house today and ate their supper which was sitting on the side whilst they were chatting outside. Nicole was mortified.

Food security. A serious political issue.

Aug 13, 2010

It's a Dog's Death

It's a Dog's Death It must be strange to be a dog in a dog's life. Everything's routine and you just kind of go along with things, hoping that the next car ride will end in fun and/or food or that food will be arriving soon or that the people will be back soon.

Like Stockholm Syndrome: you're effectively a prisoner but capitulate to it and identify with your captor to the point of utterly trusting love.

Last night Tiny didn't want to go to bed. She sniffed it and didn't like what she sensed.

This morning she couldn't get out of bed. She just didn't seem to want to move.

So after having discussed we made the appointment with the vet. With her time ticking away, I could only look at her and reflect on a dog's place in things and the trust it places in its keepers.

Eighty minutes left.

And when Nicole waves chicken under her nose as she lies there and she suddenly perks up, gets up, and eats her breakfast of course doubt resurfaces as to whether it really is time.

And when Eloise gives her her last cuddle and says goodbye we wipe away a tear and then walk away to school.

Thirty minutes left.

She's lying on the sofa, not really sleeping, but breathing heavily and her heart beating hard inside her, our hearts heavy. Her head held just so so the super-enlarged glands don't constrict her wind pipe.

We take her out to the car and Matilda is looking through the gate as we lift her into the boot.

Ten minutes.

And as she looks around the vet's place, not really taking things in, and follows the proffered treat into the anteroom and the vet agrees that yes it was a good decision and she really wasn't in great shape I wonder at the power of life and death.

Five minutes.

Lifting her up onto the table she yields and she sits when asked and lays down and her ears are perky like wingnuts like they were when she was young as her leg is swabbed.

One minute.

And stroking her gently, as the needle goes in and she is gently laid on her side, we feel her breathing subside and she just looks straight ahead and I look her in the eye and we cry.

And she looks just the same, as though she was resting, until the vet picks her up and she flops lifelessly and he takes her into the back room and she was gone.

Those Poor Benighted Chickens

Ekka Chick Abuse ... to suffer so at the hands of gleeful children

New Life at the Ekka

Metal Mother Before we move onto the terminal blog entry, a little light relief.

It's Ekka week, which explains the coughs and splutters and general chill that's around at the moment.

Ekka, you may or may not recall, is the affectionate Queensland name for the Agricultural Show we all love to hate to love, the Royal Queensland Show or Royal Queensland Exhibition.

We go every year - at the moment - and marvel at the, how to put it, spectrum of humanity on display as the hundreds of thousands congregate to celebrate all that's Agricultural. Well OK, they congregate to drink beer and go on fair ground rides, but let's be charitable.

Our route round the Ekka this year started off at the Big Oval Stadium Thingy where we celebrated all that's Agricultural by watching a sheep dog going through a trial.

Then we wandered through the sheds of animals, petting things - chickens especially. Poor buggers.

There were sheep and calves and goats and ducks and chicks and all manner of furry four-legged entertainment amongst which swarmed (rather unsteadily) young two-legged devils with cups of food.

I lost Nicole and Eloise temporarily in the dog-and-cat pavilion but found them again after a while in the chickens-in-cages pavilion before exiting to find the Science pavilion by way of the Dagwood Dog stall - hooray! for Nicole, who had to eat the... thing.

The science pavilion was entertaining though and at the QIMR stand Eloise donned a white coat, goggles and hairnet to experiment earnestly, informatively and potentially dangerously with food colouring before topically inspecting cancerous tumour cells beneath a microscope with a scientist who couldn't quite make it down to her educational level.

We then had the pleasure of watching some Singing Females who sang.

It didn't seem like it could be too long before the Showbag Pavilion exerted its ugly pull on us, but we managed to fit in the Ekka Emporium Pavilion where the spending started, and the Woolworths Fresh Food is Good Honest pavilion where we drank coffee and wine but didn't eat fresh food because we were full of, how can I put it, um, junk.

But then we confronted the inevitable and got the Pony Princess showbag in the Heaving Throng before commencing the bribery for an Early Exit because the grown-ups were knackered. The child was knackered too but wouldn't admit it: she was gung-ho for staying for the fireworks.

Sideshow Alley netted us a ride on some dodgems; an eternity spent in the Maze of Mirrors and Eloise a go on the Bungee Ropes. Then we called in ground support and were quite literally out of there.

And that was it for another year.


Omega+Alpha As time plods on it's becoming increasingly clear that Tiny's decline is heading towards its inevitable conclusion.

Her glands are enormous; new swelling are coming up on her legs; her back legs have fluid leaking internally; her heart is beating hard even when at rest; she is afflicted by a wracking cough.

She doesn't want to get up in the morning and is becoming less interested in eating.

And yet give her half and hour to get used to the idea of being semi-awake and she tucks into her breakfast and perks up, looking at you to say "well it's that time of day, let's be off then."

And then she'll plod around the forest or the beach or whatever, dutifully putting one foot in front of the other.

But her heart isn't really in it.

So over the past few days we've been thinking and talking about taking her life in our hands and letting her go whilst she still isn't suffering too much, while she still has a little spark left in her.

So here she is, on her last walk.

Aug 10, 2010

Castle Builders

Fortitude We like building sand castles at the beach.

My speciality is buttressed bridges of fine Venetian complexity.

Eloise's speciality is destroying them.

Aug 6, 2010

Cupcake Princess Twinkle Twinkle

Cupcake Princess This is the moniker that Eloise chose for herself after discussion around nicknames. It had to involve royalty, obviously, and started out as cupcake, that being a replacement for Squeaky which she wasn't too enamoured with.

Aug 2, 2010


Time Tiny's decline is becoming marked.

A few days ago the glands in her throat went through an expansion phase and her cough is becoming worse. She is getting quite lethargic, although she perks up considerable coming food time or walk time.

On walks she's trailing by ten metres or so, and though she can keep up the pace, she's just hanging back there and being a bit minimal about everything.

There are night-time temperatures and sometimes a reluctance to go to bed or to get up. I had to carry her from the sofa to bed the other night.

So it won't be long now... we're thinking that when she stops eating or stops wanting to go for a walk, that's when we'll make the decision.

But until that day comes we'll keep her plodding along.

Brisbane Fog

Brisbane Fog We had a spell over the past few days where it rained overnight and the moisture in the air turned into fog in the morning.

After dropping Eloise off at school I took the dogs up to Mount Coot-tha. I looked in at the Lookout. Normally we would see a view stretching tens of miles out to Moreton Bay with the river snaking across the floodplain and the city nestling in its meanderings.

Today the lookout was enveloped in cloud and visibility was down to a hundred metres or so, rendering the vista a whited-out nothingness.

I took the dogs up the road to give them their walk, and within two hundred metres in the other direction the air was completely clear.

After the walk I visited the lookout again and the white-out persisted.