The PEDIGREE adoption drive

Monty resting at beach

I took Monty for a walk this evening which included some off lead time at the local oval. We were on our way out but Monty had to say a quick hello to a couple of dogs so I let her. I was nearby and I thought she knew where I was but after the dogs did their goodbyes she ran around with her ears pricked up and I knew she was looking for me. It was dusk so she probably couldn’t see me as easily as normal and as she’s getting quite deaf, my calls to her were pointless.

Monty having her morning run

I could see she was getting a bit stressed so I had to walk up to her and wait till she looked in my direction, wave my hands at her and she finally realised where I was and off we went.

I’ve had Monty for nearly 11 years now. When I moved into my house my dream was always to have a dog. I had expressed this to some friends and not long after a four-year relationship ended a friend was around at my place one evening and she told me about a dog that a colleague of hers had to give up for various reasons.

She arranged for us to meet around at her place and I’ll never forget it. I was standing out the front of my friend’s place and there were around four other people there too. My friend turned up with Monty and she immediately ran up to me. I knew then that this was the dog for me.

One week later she became mine and I brought her home. I’ll never forget those first few days where she kept going to the front door like she wasn’t sure that she should be there. She’d also lie on the floor near me and look at me with her brown eyes and I felt a bit sorry for uprooting her from her previous home which was a loving home but I thought that at least she was coming to a new home with someone who loved her.

Me, Monty and Julian

We’ve had our differences over the years with holes appearing in the back yard in places that shouldn’t have holes in them like the lawn and certain areas of the garden but there’s been so many benefits that outweigh the hole digging.

She’s forced me out of the house for walks and I’ve met people in the local area I would never have otherwise met.

Jules and Monty

She’s also been a beautiful companion to JJ. As he doesn’t mind telling me quite often, he loves her more than he loves me. I know this is to just get to me but he does love her a lot and gives her lots of hugs and always says a long goodbye to her at night while trying to sneak a peek at the television if it’s on.

Even though she’s pushing 13 human years and she is getting deaf and quite a bit slower she still loves her walks. She still acts like a puppy when I get her lead out and she knows that she’s going out for a walk. I’m really dreading the time when we have to say goodbye to her and when that time comes I don’t know what I’ll do because we’ll miss her like crazy.

If I do get a new dog I’m pretty sure I will adopt one rather than buy a puppy from a pet shop or breeder.

Pedigree are sponsoring a dog adoption drive and at the time of me writing this 861 dogs have been adopted. That’s got to be good. If I was to adopt a puppy in South Australia right now there’s a choice of nine dogs from their website with their stories. Nooo, I’m not looking now, nooooo.

Please note that this is not a sponsored post. I am a dog lover and want to see unwanted dogs go to a good home just like Monty did.

Healthy eating

11.03.07 HEARTBROKEN TOMATO
Creative Commons License photo credit: aJ GAZMEN ? GucciBeaR

I was going to respond to Picklebum’s post about Falling from a sugar high with a comment, but saw an opportunity for a post of my own.

My son responds to sugar (or is it certain additives?) in a negative way. I first noticed it when he had some lemonade and he started going quite silly, more silly than normal. From thereon I only let him have the Natural lemonade – one without the extra bits. I can’t remember the brand at the moment but it seemed to help negate the sugar high. He has since grown out of this so a glass of lemonade when we go out for dinner is okay by me.

There are two other instances when having a bunch of lollies was not a good thing.

The first was at a colleague’s leaving do at my workplace. There was the obligatory plate of lollies on the table and probably because I was too busy to see what he ate, he’d eaten a whole bunch of them. The sugar high hit when the speeches were being made. As the volume of the people in the room dropped to listen to the speeches, JJ’s volume rose and he got the dreaded ‘shoosh’ from someone. I thought, bugger it, I’m staying. He mustn’t have been too out of order otherwise I would have left while the speeches were on.

The other time was when we were at a party and he gobbled heaps of green jelly beans. I must have been feeling lenient that day because normally I wouldn’t let him eat this many but I knew he’d eaten too many when he starting vomiting green liquid while standing in the middle of a group I was a part of. It was a bit like the exorcist just much funnier – only because the vomit was bright green. I pretended I didn’t know who he was only that didn’t really work because they all knew he was my son.  Luckily we were outside and he didn’t vomit all over someone’s carpet and all was forgotten pretty quickly.

Generally I try and oversee the junk food consumption when we’re out but it’s not always easy and when I see a whole packet of lollies being emptied into a bowl at any party I just cringe. He’s a bit easier to reason with now and I don’t think he’ scoff too many in one sitting especially if I said not to. But then as he’s older now the sugar thing doesn’t seem to affect him anywhere near as much as it used to.

Recently we were sitting down to dinner and The Surfer was around too and JJ informed me that I didn’t pack him enough in his lunch box. I asked him what he wanted, as if I’ve never asked him before, and he said he’d like some raw carrots. Ever since, I’ve put two raw carrots in his lunchbox in addition to the other bits and pieces. What I’m trying to say is that he’s a pretty healthy eater but I remember the time when it was an effort for him to eat vegetables at all. I had to really work at getting him back into eating them – after all he lived on mushed vegies when he first starting eating solids!

For the record he eats a HUGE breakfast – a bowl of corn flakes and about four to five weetbix. I serve him the same size meals as myself and he’s only eight, nearly nine. I don’t want to think about what he’s food intake will be when he’s a bit older but I’ve already told him he’ll be getting a job as soon as he’s legally able to, to help pay for the food he’ll eat.

Plumbing problems

I’ll start by saying I hate house maintenance. I hate the amount of time it takes to do it and I hate it even more when I have to call a tradesperson in.

At the beginning of the year I noticed water appearing in my bathroom after having a shower where it shouldn’t have appeared. I knew in my gut that something was wrong but I buried my head in the sand and hoped it would go away. My years of life experience should have told me that this wouldn’t work and I called a plumber to fix my taps. Him and his apprentice dropped in on their way to another job and were so rushed that they fixed the taps – kind of. Water was still leaking out from behind the cold tap when the shower was on.

This problem got worse when I could hear the sound of water running through pipes when there were no taps on at all. I decided not to call the same plumber and instead called a friend of a friend who’s a plumber. He came out a couple of weeks ago, I explained what was going on and he eventually decided that there was water leaking behind the tiles. This meant taking some tiles off the wall.

Sure enough, water was leaking from the pipe behind the tiles.

The pictures below show how he had to leave it for the weekend until he had the time and the parts to fix the pipe. The bit of board is to channel the water into the shower and away from the wall.

leakingshower

waterleak

Fortunately there is a shower we can use over the bath which happens to be adjacent to this so we weren’t without the availability of washing ourselves over the weekend.

He came back on the Monday and fixed the leak, put two new taps on the shower and put a plastic bag over the hole so we can use that shower again.

Now I can have a shower and not have to use all my strength to turn the taps off so they don’t leak. I like that, and it wasn’t too expensive.

The next part is fixing the wall though. I found out that behind the tiles where waterproof board should have been used, it wasn’t. The gyprock there has pretty much disintegrated and it turns out that the whole shower’s back wall will need replacing. I haven’t received the quote for that yet but the good news is that insurance should cover it. Phew!

The whole bathroom is quite dated and I’d dearly love to gut the whole lot and get it redone but I’d rather go on a holiday than do that. I need a holiday!

In other news, completely non-related to leaking showers, I’ve been trying Fairtrade chocolate.

Aftermath

As we are off to Bali in a few weeks I’ve been taking it easy socially but there was a change in that on Saturday night with the celebration of about five friends birthdays at a big party. This is an annual event and one eagerly anticipated.

The party is about a 40 minute drive from my place so not an easy place to get to and from so I drove, but we stayed in the surfer’s car for the night so neither of us had to drive home. We’d arrived about 9pm and it was a bit after 3am when I dragged myself off to bed to try and get a few hours sleep but these six hours went very quickly. By the time I get around to try and say hallo to everyone and have a dance then I notice the crowd starting to thin out so I know it must be about 1 or 2am.

At one stage someone offered me a vodka jelly. I tried to elegantly suck it out of it’s little cup which is never going to happen. There’s no elegance in eating vodka jellies. So I’d elegantly eaten half of it while on the dance floor and carried on dancing, flinging my arms around I think because when I went to finish off the rest of the jelly it had disappeared. I had a bit of a look on the floor to see if it had fallen there but couldn’t find it. Hopefully it didn’t land on anyone’s head because it would have been quite sticky. I didn’t worry about it too much after that and carried on dancing.

After a few hours sleep I got up and got into my car to drive home, picking up JJ on the way. I was about two minutes away from picking up JJ and had just started to take off at a green light when I saw a car go through a red light the other way (just in front of me) and collect two cars. Luckily nobody was going very fast so they were all ok but I sat there in shock in the middle of the road wondering what to do. I figured enough people had seen the accident and I had to be somewhere so I turned off and went another way.

I was very very glad to get home in one piece and because it was a cold and blustery day we lit the fire and watched the Get Smart movie with one trip out to buy fish and chips for dinner.

Kayaking

JJ got invited to a birthday party recently and he could bring an adult of his choice. His choice was me of course, well actually it wasn’t but he got me anyway, and we took along my fella too.

It was so we could all go kayaking and there needed to be adults there to be the skippers of the kayaks.

Two of the women there were too frightened to be the skippers so it’s lucky we had a spare adult, and lucky that two adults and a child could fit in a couple of the kayaks. You can see us above trying out the boats to make sure we could reach the pedals for the rudder.

It’s been a long time since I paddled a boat so I was a bit nervous but thought I’d muddle my way through it. I’m sure there’s a way of paddling so your lap doesn’t get completely wet but I didn’t get that lesson.

We went through the mangroves which were pretty amazing and a little bit hard to negotiate through when you’re not a very experienced kayaker.

About to go into the mangroves

Because only one party could go through at a time when we came back out there was another group waiting to go in. I thought I had it sussed out to steer past the low branches but I didn’t quite make it and went too close to them. An expletive or two left my mouth and my son apologised to the group for his mum swearing. I was quite embarrassed that we’d drawn so much attention to ourselves. But paddle on we did.

What I wasn’t able to capture with my camera was the dolphin who swam near us nearly the whole way and came out of the water every now and then. He came pretty close to us.

After we’d done the mangroves JJ and I had pretty much worked out how to get some speed happening with the kayak and had a race back to the dock.

We did stop near the end to give my camera to my fella so he could take some photos of myself and JJ which we hardly ever get as I’m more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.

Although JJ was pretty good while we were in the boat he was a bit silly once we got out of it and I ended up putting him in the car so he could calm down. Even on the way home I’d had enough and asked him to be quiet but he’s not one to be very quiet and it had been quite a tiring day and I was worn down.

This was the night that my fella (let’s call him the surfer as that’s what he does in his spare time) and I had a discussion about whether I thought he oversteps the mark in disciplining JJ. No, I don’t think he does, and he’s not on his back the whole time either. He backs up what I do and say with JJ and to be quite honest it’s really good to have that backup for a change. Maybe it will make things sink in a bit quicker with him having someone other than his mum saying the same things to him.

It was hard not to compare my noisy JJ with a classmate that we took to the party who was really well behaved the whole time and very courteous and mostly quiet. A complete contrast! Sometimes I feel like it’s a never ending battle with JJ having to explain things over and over and over without them ever seeming to sink in. This is why I try to remember the good stuff he does and to emphasise that to him.

So I got paid to take some photos

Remember a while ago I took some photos at a friend’s nephew’s birthday party as a favour to her? It turned out that the boy’s parents were very happy with the photos and asked me to come to their twin daughters first birthday party to take photos and of course they’d pay me.

Here’s one of the twins after she’d fallen over and her grandfather is consoling her.

A short while later everything was fine.

I ummed and aahhed over how much to charge them and came up with a pretty reasonable quote for my first job and they accepted it.

About 15 minutes before I was due to leave I couldn’t find the email with their home address where the party was being held. I looked in vain for this email which I knew I’d read but for the life of me couldn’t find. I didn’t have their phone number either. I rang my friend three times and she didn’t answer. I got into my car and thought I’d at least drive to the suburb where I knew it was and drive around if I had to but then my friend rang me with the address. Phew! Lesson learned. Get phone numbers and addresses and WRITE them down in my diary.

This kid below didn’t like having his photo taken so I made it my mission to get some of him, for his mum if nothing else.

Like the other party when I first got there I didn’t really know anyone so I felt a bit weird just taking photos of people I didn’t really know but you soon get over that. One person who’d been at the last party and must have seen my photos said that they were ‘real’ which I took as a great compliment as I’m sure it was intended.

A couple of families asked me to take family shots so I gather they’d been briefed by the hostess that I was going to be there and that this was perfectly fine for me to do.

There was face painting to be had and I was a bit naughty when taking this photo because they were lined up for the girl’s mum to take her photo. I shot it and took off so she could get her daughter’s attention.

You can see JJ in the background. He had a fine old time eating icecream, getting some prizes from the prize bag, and embarrassing me by asking for a lolly bag. If there’s a next time I’m going to have to explain to him that this is a paid gig for me and not a party for him and I might have to pay him something also.

I took around 350 photos and ended up giving them a third of these on CD as I’d been asked. All up I was at the party for three hours and it took nearly that again to go through them all, process them slightly and burn them to CD.

Duck Duck Goose

I wouldn’t want to do this all the time I don’t think because it would become too much of a chore. As it was I really enjoyed going through the photos when selecting them for the family because I relived the moments of the party even though they aren’t my family.

This is JJ’s friend and cousin to the twin girls. He’s as cheeky as he looks.

Dillon

I love getting these candid shots like the one below. He obviously had no idea that I was taking it and that’s what makes a lot of my photos ‘real’ I guess.

And then there was fire

I’ve never slept in a camper trailer before and apart from having to negotiate a smallish ladder it was a good experience even with the occasional rain during the night.

We were awoken the next morning by one of the kids banging on a drum – it was Anzac Day after all – but we lay in bed for a while even though we were awake. We could hear the kids running around and knew that they’d be having a great time.

Sunday was spent relaxing, and getting the ingredients together for a huge bonfire. The big boys went surfing and the rest of us went to the beach. It wasn’t really a swimming beach so even though I was wearing bathers I didn’t go in. Later on we also had another sand dunes session. It’s very good exercise and works wonders wearing the kids out.

I love the swirling smoke in the picture below not long after the bonfire was lit. Unfortunately all the marshmallows had been used up the night before.

Watching the bonfire

I could just sit there and watch a bonfire for ages. It didn’t take long before we all moved in a bit closer after it died down a bit.

Bonfire

Before we knew it Monday morning rolled around and we had to pack up and drive home. Our lovely host took the kids off to the sand dunes again while we packed up – bless him.

Kids in the trailer

Fortunately the drive home was much more pleasant and quiet as the kids were pretty exhausted. They even slept for a while which was just blissful for us.

Well we survived our first trip away and he’s joining myself and JJ for our trip to Bali in June which is very exciting.

Any Bali travel tips are gratefully accepted.