Monday, September 27, 2010


I remember being in the gardens of the Abbey of Saint Mary in the Yorkshire Museum Gardens in York, England, which dated back to about 1088.  These gardens were covered in beautiful, empty shells of old buildings and structures, surrounded by green, lush lawns and trees. People all around me were walking around on the lawns in the sun drippled day, and there was music and talking, including laughter coming from the various groups of people, of all ages spread across the rolling lawns amongst the trees.  It was peaceful and inviting and a great photo opportunity to take in the beauty of these gardens with its building remnants of what had been there before in its earlier days. 

In the earlier days there would have been many other people regularly on the site - more servants, craftsmen and tradesmen, as well as other boys from poorer families who attended classes within the abbey.   But today we were here enjoying it's tranquilty and beauty of days gone past.

While strolling around with Maddie and Chris, through this spacious green haven, I got sidetracked and discovered a squirrel and as I love squirrels, I started taking photos of a particular squirrel. (let me explain--I have lived in Australia for over 30 years--and there aren't any squirrels here--not a gray one or even a red one--so finding a squirrel was to me like finding a strange and wonderful animal!)

Everyone else was photographing the Abbey's beauty and scenery--while I concentrated on this lone squirrel, who was actually posing for me. The next thing I knew, I looked up, and a group had gathered around me and the squirrel.  Suddenly there were about 10-15 people taking photos of my squirrel---I really laughed!!

Curiosity is contagious and best shared!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rain, rain...go away!

I know that after living in Australia for as long as I have, that rain brings growth, and greenery sometimes to a very dry country. And in many situations this rain leads to growth and better economy due to grain production, crops of all sorts, grasses for stock, etc..I understand this concept only too well---but believe me--(Don't get me wrong, God!) we have had enough rain for now!  Even one day of sun would be ideal!

This will be my pondering page today, as a result:
  • Where do butterflies go in the rain?  I mean if by general rule it is acknowledged that one should never touch the 'magic' dust on ther feathery wings--what does the rain do to them?
  • Do the birds escape to warm down filled nests and just cuddle in--and after days of rain do they 'flip coins' to see who has to venture out of their warm haven to forage for food, or is it a team effort?
  • When I look at my border collies and keep saying to myself that they have thick coats of hair and can survive any rain downpour--am I just fooling myself, or can I believe me?  I think, looking at Strap that I am fooling myself!
  • How can we as humans harnass the amazing army of strength that those little critter ants have been able to do--they know just when to cover up their ant hill openings in preparation for rain, and then tunnel out just when they know it is safe and timely to do so--the 'magic' storages of food down there must be amazing--I wonder if they have refrigeration?
Do you ever think of these things?

As an Aquarian, my thought processes flow more easily by a body of water--a lake, a river, an ocean --sometimes even a swimming pool.  But like an Aquarian, I do not like having my thought processes controlled by something outside of my control--like weeks of rain without sunshine--How do people exist on the opposite poles on this earth--extreme cold and days of night darkness--they must be amazing humans!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not again! Another air-conditioner snake surprise!

A few years ago,my husband was very ill--had picked up a nasty virus which had flattened him, and he was in bed for about a week or so--he was becoming weaker, and losing weight as a result.  Well during this time, I had done what I could for him one morning before heading off to work, and knew I could check in on him during the day.

But in my absence, Chris had a visitor--not really a friendly one though!

About mid-morning, Chris woke up from a medicated slumber noticing that something didn't look right about our split system air-conditioner in the wall to the right of the bed.  Groggily he could remember hearing a plop sound as something appeared to drop from that area onto the carpet.  But groggily, he just drifted off to sleep again.

Sometime later he woke up again, thinking to himself..."I think that plop was a snake!  And from the sound of the plop--probably a large one!"  So he carefully got out of bed and started to weakly look around the room. 

We have a waterbed, which has 6 drawers built into the base of the bed, and as Chris knew he couldn't see the snake anywhere clearly visible in the room, the snake had most likely crawled under the bed, and was warming itself in or near one of those drawers.  So with our friendly 'snake spade' near by, he gingerly, as much as he could in his groggy, weakened state, began pulling the large drawers out from under the bed.  One by one, there appeared to be no signs of a snake--until he got to the 6th drawer--and there it was!  A King Brown snake--not feeling very friendly either!  (King brown snakes can be highly poisonous because of the amount of venom they can inject with each bite.)

A struggle ensued, and Chris eventually won the battle and managed to capture and kill the snake with the help of "spade".  But of course the tell-tale signs of the battle--the drawers all over the floor, the blood on the carpet, and the ever present fish smell as a result, all meant a big clean-up.

By the time I got home from work, the clean-up had been done, and an exhausted Chris lay in bed, just trying to build up his weakened condition again, as he told me of his adventure that day.  (Made my Committee meetings sound very boring!)

Eventually Chris' health improved, and we eventually discovered that the drain pipe from the air-conditioner's split system did not have a drain cap on the end of it. The simple insertion of this cap has prevented any further snakes from seeking the moisture and crawling inside of this drain tubing...if only we had realised that before these air-conditioner adventures!  Live (hopefully) and Learn, as they say!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This one is just being truly blatant!

For the past few months Chris and I (plus our builder and friend, Warren Rundle, and his great team comprising an electrician, plumber, painter and rubbish container deliverers) have been working on the reconstruction and improvement of our beloved beach-house.  We have decided to sell both of our homes as we wish to move further up north in Queensland to Cairns--even more of  'God's own Country!'.

This renovation stuff has been interesting, sometimes exciting as ideas developed while we looked at rooms and decided what changes needed to be made.  But towards the end--very exhausting for both Chris and I.  Lots of cleaning out--cleaning up--and painting by me of interior cupboards, and polishing of all surfaces.  While I concentrated on the interior of the house, which included new carpeting, new curtains and paint choices and colour design, --Chris took over all the work on the outside yardwork, nature's garden removal, and landscaping--no small task. 

While I painted, scoured, grouted, and cleaned,--Chris carried heavy loads of rubbish, built retaining walls, and mowed, whipper snipped, cut down trees, and planted and designed new gardens and walkways to this three tiered garden surrounding the house! 

But in the end, we stood back and smiled, somewhat exhaustedly - trying to imagine a new family moving into this much loved home, and hopefully feeling the love that we had put into it!

Here's a link to our final project renovation--a great house only blocks from the beach, and holding all sorts of opportunity for even further development choices.  What we did enjoy was the kookaburras, who definitely approved of our work and final results as they sang out at us every day, as we worked away in our little tranquil spot!

  40 Lamberton Street, Yeppoon, Qld 4703  40 Lamberton Street, Yeppoon, Qld 4703

Monday, September 20, 2010

You know, I love life because of you, my reader!

It is a rainy day here today, and I am feeling a bit sluggish--probably because of the weather--we are entering Spring--one of my favourite seasons of all time...but my actions today are sluggish--probably a good reason for just having a reflection day --and it made me want to write to you..

I have recently been doing some story writing on my blog.  This time I have been telling my stories of snake encounters--and still have one more to go--but as today is rainy, and I am wanting your company, I decided to just talk to you today...hope that's OK!

Lots of ideas going through my head--like the importance and significance of family--every little bit of them---cousins--in-laws--brothers, sisters and parents, children--how great they are.  If I could throw them all into one room that would fit them all--we could just have a hug in--I would like that!  Think about that with your family--maybe we could somehow declare a "Hug in Day"!

My only other reflection today is the presciousness of life--I mean the real living of it.  That is probably the most important thing you will ever do in your entire lifetime!  Live YOUR Life!  Let those words soak in...roll around in them--understand and appreciate them. 

We only get one go at this life--maybe we come back again as someone or something else--or maybe we just move on---but this is the only time that you will be you--relish how wonderful and special that is!  What a gift you are! 

I am happy to have had the opportunity to be me---and to write to you--pass it on!  Let others know how special they are! 

Maybe this rain today is symbolising a cleansing, or a new beginning--but I wanted you to know what a special person you are, and how you and even I have contributed to this life--let's just grow together---there is still so much to learn!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is that a spider or an alien?

When I first came to Australia, from Iowa, the biggest spider I had ever seen was about the size of your thumbnail--even then, they always scared me.

Well, now I was in Australia, and like they say in Texas--they grow 'em big down here!

I was sharing a house with two other female Australian teachers--Ruth and Maaike---all of us first year teachers--so everything was a learning experience--even for them, as they had been raised in major cities and now we were all in 'the bush'. The town's name was Rainbow (and yes, I will write more about Rainbow later).

The girls had arrived to the house before me and had chosen their bedrooms--on the first come, first serve basis--why should the 'Yank' get preference--which is probably fair enough--but my bedroom ended up being a room that could only squeeze in a single bed, had one single very small wardrobe on the opposite wall, and a desk top under the window which looked onto the bindie patch back yard--in otherwords, I was sleeping in the kitchen's former pantry!

Well, one night I was getting ready to go to bed when I noticed a HUGE huntsman spider on the wall by my bed. I asked the girls to please help me get rid of it--as I was somewhat petrified of its size--it was at least half the size of my whole hand -- something I just didn't think was possible! But they wouldn't help me--apparently I had to learn how to cope with Australia on my own!

So, I went back into my bedroom and discussed the situation with the spider--by now, he had moved a bit further away from my bed, but was still in my small space. I decided the only way I could get rid of him was to get the fireplace poker and just stab him! So I grabbed the poker, came back into my room and pointed it straight at the spider. Then he moved his head and looked straight at me--don't know if you have ever noticed, but spiders have ENORMOUS eyes---I couldn't do it! How could I hurt something with those soulful eyes? So I put the poker down, talked to the spider again, saying:

"Listen. I really don't want to hurt you, but no offense, you are creeping me out! If you would just leave my room and go away, I would sleep so much better! I have to teach tomorrow, and you are keeping me awake! It will be your fault tomorrow if I am a gooey ga ga mess in front of my class--do you want to live with that? Just move out to the kitchen or the laundry room--anywhere but here!"

I sat on my bed and looked at him for a while, then just decided to trust my instincts, turned off the light and went to bed. I tossed and turned, and imagined the spider crawling on my face then suddenly thought--I could put a large jar over him--slide the lid on top and presto--move him! So I very carefully, in the dark room, with a shaking hand turned on the light switch, not knowing where he was at that stage. But, I was determined to fulfill my new mission.

With the light on, I searched everywhere for him. He wasn't anywhere near me! He had actually moved out towards the laundry room, and by the next morning, was nowhere to be found!  Good spider!

Since then, I have always discussed my living situation with these spiders--I think they understand. As long as we set ground rules--meaning no where near my ground--we are OK.  Sometimes having an occasional huntsman near the ceiling in my central hallway actually helps to keep other pests away..I keep telling myself this fact.  We're not friends--but we try very hard to cooperate!

Friday, September 17, 2010

OK- Related snake story! This one's for Bobby!

I have always had an extremely vivid imagination, and so my dreams have always been in technicolour--probably blu-ray by now! So, once, when I lived on the farm in Victoria, I dreamt that while walking out to feed the chooks, which led me through a pathway taking me into a tree enclosed walkway, I saw a snake "Disney style" hanging from a tree, wearing a straw hat and sunglasses!

Well this snake not only just hung from that tree, but hissed out: "Yesss...(as he raised his head bending his body towards me in the process) Where are you going, Misssssy? What kind of pressssent do you have for me today?" In my dream, I startled, and started to run as food scraps for my chooks suddenly were thrown up into the air, thinking all the time "That snake just talked to me--Kinda knew me!" Very strange but bad dream!

Anyway, my young brother in-law at the time loved that story and always teased me about the snake--which only made the 'snake in the tree image' stronger for me each day, I even varied my pathway to get to the chook pen each day--sure didn't want a tree hanging snake encounter!

A while later, Victoria was experiencing a mouse plague. I had never lived through one, and quite frankly never want to again! During this plague I was walking out one evening through the intrepid snake hanging walkway, carrying my container of chook scraps--(fruit and vegetable scrapings, etc), when, in the settling dusk night, the ground seemed unusually bumpy and dark. I looked down and Yep! I was walking on mice--lots of them--many of them--swarms of them! Just as in my dream, I screamed--I threw the chook scraps and ran for the house! Yet not one of them yelled out: "Yessssss, Missssy!"

Probably hadn't met my snake yet!


This snake story will scare you--it did me!!

At one stage we had a smallish side laundry deck which held our clothes hoist. Early one morning, my eldest daughter, Bronwyn, who was about 12 at the time came running in from the deck saying that a snake had been very close to her when she tried to get her school uniform from the clothesline. It was sunning itself on the top wooden deck rail, next to the orange tree.

I made sure she was ok--then grabbed my camera---something I did/still do alot with snakes--it helps me to identify them later--anyway, I opened the deck door and yep--it was still there on the deck railing--so I took some photos. It was a large 4-6 foot snake, lightish brown in colour with a creamier coloured face--I had never seen this variety of snake before--and knew I couldn't do anything about it at the moment, except keep it out of the house.

I proceeded to get ready for work, got the girls in the car, and took them to school. I thought about it during the day, and hoped that when I picked the girls up that afternoon and brought them home--the snake would be gone. But, nope he wasn't!

He was a large snake--almost 6 feet--about 2 metres in length, and had moved to the metal side fence next to the deck--he had his face down the opening in the gate lock. The gate lock was similar to a pool fence lock, magnetic, and when slammed it stayed closed. At the moment the gate door was open facing out from the deck, with the hinged end close to the deck, where from the floor of the deck, I could grab the gate door.

Knowing now that I had to do something, I quietly crawled on my hands and knees to the gate door--at face level with the snake. I moved as quickly as I could before the snake could smell or sense me, and grabbed the gate door, and with as much force as I could muster in that position slammed that gate against the snake's head. It dropped and disappeared immediately--that worried me a bit--but I had learned that damage to a snake's skin--a cut for example usually will end in a snake's death due to infection.

I then went into a state of hyperventilation--I had been almost at face point with that snake--why would I do that? I shakily walked into the loungeroom, and asked the girls to get me a bag -(meaning a brown paper bag) to breathe into as I couldn't get my breath. Bron handed me a plastic bag--which made me laugh, and still not breathing right, I gasped out:
"Quickly! Get me some brandy! That will help." I could barely breathe! Lauren quickly brought me a small port glass of brandy - I took one sip and spit it back into the glass, remembering I don't like brandy--but it worked--I was over my delayed panic. The snake was gone.

A few weeks later, Ram Chandra came to one of our local shopping centres with a display of snakes, so I took to him the photos I had taken of our deck snake. He confirmed from the photos that it had been a mature taipan- a highly poisonous snake. I told him what I had done, thinking I had acted so bravely, and this snake "guru" told me that I had been a very stupid woman, and very lucky--one bite on my face from that snake and I would be dead. He humbled my bravery straight away!

Note: this is an excerpt from the ABC's Radio AM, dated 31 July, 1999, about an interview with Ram Chandra--an amazing man!
"And he really knew. He was twice bitten by a taipan, and by other snakes reportedly more than a dozen times. Born Edward Ramsany in New South Wales to Indian parents, he took the name Ram Chandra when he joined the sideshow as a snake handler. He came to prominence with his work on the taipan. He discovered the taipan was different from the brown snake. He also proved the highly venomous snake was responsible for deaths throughout Queensland, when previously it was thought to be confined to the Cape York area. But most significantly, he's acknowledged as one of the driving forces behind the development of the taipan antivenene. It saved his own life and dozens of other people's since. For his efforts, Ram Chandra received the British Empire Medal and the Order of Australia. But in later life he became partially paralysed from the waist down from the cumulative effects of snake bites, and had to give away snake handling."


A snake of another colour!

Living in Queensland has always fascinated me--there are so many beautiful animals and plants here--but an unusually strange one is the tree snake--sneaky little buggers!

When Maddie was about 4 years old, she came into our lounge room to announce to me that there was a snake on the top of her swingset--well...a girl from Iowa would have said --"Get out of here! There's no way a snake could be on top of your swingset!" But I was a Queenslander now--so I dropped what I was doing and followed her down our back hallway and into our backyard, in order to see for myself - this so-called snake on her swingset...and yep! There it was! A treesnake- sunning itself on the top green bar of her swingset--not even really bothered that we were there talking about it--to its face. By memory, I think it turned it's face and looked at us, but then just as cooly as if it was wearing shades--it just went back to sunning itself.

Knowing it wasn't poisonous--but apparently cheeky, I just took Maddie's hand and went back inside the house, saying: "Well, we'll just give him some space for now--I'm sure he will leave comfortable can that be? One roll over, and he's on the ground! Silly snake!"

So we came inside and I tried to distract her with some other activity--mind you, I walked with caution through that backyard for quite some time--never had met a snake with such attitude--hoped to never again!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Snake stories!

Since moving to Australia as a young Iowan still green behind the ears, at the bright age of 23, I have experienced so many fascinating things. This is an amazing country and I am in love with so many facets of it--its animals for instance are amazing--but then there are snakes (and spiders---but that's another story!)---lots of them.

As I write this I am wondering which snake story to start with in this snake saga ...there really are so many!

Since living here, I have learned to always walk with caution while out in the bush, and to always be alert, even in my own backyard, as poisonous snakes like the brown snake, king brown or even taipan may be in my environment.

But no one warned me that they might be in my bedroom!

To understand this story or rather dilemma, you have to know that I am virtually blind in my left eye, and without glasses I have somewhat blurred vision, and it can be distorted. Anyway, about 15 years ago, I was still laying in bed early one morning--I had the day off from work, and was enjoying the peace of the early morning. John, (my husband at the time, was upstairs in the kitchen, my two older girls were getting ready for school, and my youngest baby, Maddie, was laying beside me in bed - something she was in the habit of doing at that stage.) Anyway I looked up and on the wall hanging from the air-conditioner I saw with my blurred vision, what looked like an extra cord hanging from the air-conditioner, just above my head and to the right. I turned to Madison and tried to calmly ask her what that image was. In reply, she calmy stated: "It's a snake." "It's a what?" I more nervously replied--from what I could see of it there was about 2 feet of it hanging out of the air-conditioner!

I asked her to calmly get out of bed on the other side and run upstairs to get 'Daddy' to help me. Which she calmly did. Meanwhile I just laid there, watching the snake and not wanting to disturb it. It's tail was hanging from the bottom vent of the air conditioner, and it was hard to determine what kind of snake it was..

John arrived, and I jumped out of bed as Maddie had just moments before. It was an awkward few moments as we tried to determine what to do, then John took a firm grip on the snake's tail, yanked it out of the air-conditioner and cracked the snake like a bull-whip- breaking it's back and killing it. In the process, blood from the snake flew across the room landing on the ceiling, the walls, the bed, and the newly cleaned cream carpet and left its fish like smell everywhere.

We looked around and sighed--I said good-bye to my day off, as it was going to now have to be devoted to cleaning the entire room to get rid of the terrible smell.

John disposed of the snake--it had been a brown snake - very poisonous. I shuddered at how close it had been to my head just moments before. That's the sub-tropics for you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Strap and his curious ways

First of all I need to explain, I talk to animals all the time, I'm sure they understand or are at least sympatico with me. I always get responses, but yesterday even Strap surprised me.

Chris was getting ready to head down to the beachouse for another hard day of work, and I was sitting on the lower steps leading to our bedroom, talking to him. The 'boys' (Jock and Strap, our two border collies), were standing at the screen door, really wanting to come inside to join in, so I motioned for them to open the door (refer to dog screen door damage in an earlier blog) --anyway, both came running into the hallway. They hesitantly looked at their Master, Chris, who indicated to them that it was ok that they were inside, and then, as always, came to me and demanded snuggles and cuddles from me. Jock is getting old now, and his hips won't really allow him to climb further than two steps, but he still managed to lay his head in my lap and snuggle in. Strap climbed all 4 stairs and sat next to me on the top stair, and cuddled into my side, loving having his chest and ears rubbed as he snuggled in.

Meanwhile Jock, who had better things to do and explore, turned and had already opened the screen door and had gone back outside. Deciding I had to get on with my day, I suddenly stood up, and as I did, Strap stood up with me, and we walked into the main living area.

He smelled everything on his way - the plants, the lounge chair where I sit, the side table, and finally the kitchen floor before following me into the dining room. (Both dogs have always lived outside, so their curiosity peaks at times when they come inside). I sat down at the dining table, and started to look at messages on my laptop, when Strap suddenly jumped up, put his front paws on the table in front of me, sort of pushing his way into my lap space, and peered into the laptop screen. He watched it for a short time, turning his head on the side as he does when he is curious about something. Then he hopped down and went exploring, smelling the other things in the room, including the doors leading out onto the deck.

As he did this this I quickly googled 'border collie' and it brought up a photo that looked just like him..I called him over so that he could have a look. Once again he put his paws up on the edge on the table so that he could get a closer look--I moved the laptop closer and he examined the photo, as I said to him, "See Strap! There are other handsome dogs like you out in the world--aren't you wonderful?". He then just hopped down onto all fours again, looked at me for a few moments, and then calmly turned away and walked down to the bottom hallway, opened the screen door, and joined Jock outside in the backyard.

I guess he decided that his world was far more interesting than that of this strange Mistress of his who sits in front of a flat looking screen thingy and just looks at static photos of him--he probably decided then and there that he was happy he was a dog--at least outside he could roll around in the dirt, chase his nemesis-the magpies, and run the length of the large yard with his mate Jock, as they chased and protected their territory. Out there he could smell what it was like to be a border collie.. Silly Mistress--she misses so much in life!

Friday, September 10, 2010

We had a snake in our house!

To those out there who are true naturalists, you may find this story crazy--but hopefully good in the end--For the rest of us--it may be a bit frightening --hold on!

Last night Maddie and Chris had both gone to bed after their tiring work filled days. I was about to go into the toilet, (door was shut) - when I noticed a long tail hanging out under the doorway. Now we live in a semi tropical zone, and 'tropical nature critters' are a part of our life - I am constantly being irritated by geckos (lizards) which pop out of cupboards, or crawl out from their hiding places behind curtains or wall hangings--harmless but messy little things. Some of them can get to be quite large--so my mind was thinking, looking at this tail under the toilet door--is this another type of lizard?

I actually got down on my hands and knees and peered under the door to see if I could determine what it was. Yep! It was a snake!

I quickly went down to our bedroom, and rudely woke up Chris by opening the door loudly and saying urgently; "Please wake up and hurry--there's a snake upstairs!" Chris being who he is, jumped up fairly quickly to that plea, came upstairs and looked at the tail. We couldn't decide what to do--how to attack the snake, not really knowing its size or breed. So Chris went to get a spade as a weapon, in case it was poisonous, and I kept a watchful eye on it. We have had taipans and king brown snakes in our home in the past, so we are always cautious around them.

Suddenly the snake started to move, and was leaving the toilet room, and moving towards the bathroom. I yelled out to Chris to hurry as snakes move really quickly. He got back in time to see it entering the bathroom, and had an attempt at trying to stop it with the spade--but perhaps missed. Anyway, the snake vanished.

The light switch for the bathroom is further into the bathroom, and in the dark we were hesitant to venture further--so I was madly scrambling for torches (flashlights). Once we had them, and could venture in and turn on the lights, the snake was no where to be found. Bother! Now, I'm not going to go to bed now with a snake on the prowl, so the night loomed ahead.....

We left lights on and walked away, hoping it would re-appear soon, and after about 20 minutes it did. I noticed it wrapped behind the bathroom's small rubbish bin. I called out to Chris, who was by now sitting, reading, and waiting in another room, and he quickly arrived with Spade. It was only a small snake--only about a foot long--still thinnish, and had spotted markings on its back--we knew it had to be a python--not poisonous. So eventually Chris managed to get it onto the spade, and I manuevered a large rubbish bag around the spade end and we rescued it. We hate to ever kill what can't really harm us.

Chris at about midnight walked the bag and snake about midway down our 1/2 kilometre track and released it.

I think the snake was even more scared than we had been! What a night!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


The other day I was shopping, and feeling good about life--and then it happened. I was called 'Ma'am' (what a strange word anyway--look at it--it even looks strange in its construction!) One of the definitions states:
"an adult female person" (as opposed to a man?); "the woman kept house while the man hunted"---I haven't seen any male hunting going on around here for a long time--but a lot of keeping house still goes on...

I realise that for men the meaning might refer to --quote:
"a middle-aged or elderly woman who is stylish and highly respected, a term of respect"--but hey! We don't like it! My young daughter, who is just 18 was called Ma'am not long back. She commented on it to me---didn't like it! None of us do--whatever the age! Update your terminology please...otherwise I may start calling you 'Ol Guy' or 'Sir'...but then that might be considered a compliment!

My suggestion, drop the 'Ma'am' stuff. If you want to compliment us or wish us well, which I always assume is the intention, just say 'Thanks', or 'Have a great day' or anything--just don't age us and condemn us to another place in our heads, by including the word--"Ma'am". Drop the reference to lineage, age or sex...we know we are female---the world makes us extremely aware of that every day!

I am not usually overtly sexist in the male vs female thing--but I do resent the term 'Ma'am' --go figure---if it must be used, please don't use it around me.

Thank you.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Jock and Strap- Part 2

I'll let you in on a secret - don't tell Chris. But the 'boys' and I sneak doggy biscuits when Chris isn't around. Chris is a great dog trainer and disciplinarian. I am his undoing.

But there are lots of times when as a dog, I wouldn't want to lay in the rain, or in the hot sun, or eat yucky dog food---so I sneak treats and let the boys inside the house to escape the harsh summer sun. Not too keen on wet dog smell in the house though--so don't always run to their rescue for that escape---which Strap lets me know about!

Jock is a strange one--he HATES having a bath--despises getting wet, and once he is freshly bathed and smells sweet, he instantly rolls on the lawn and dirt as if to say--'I told you to leave me alone' I have explained earlier that he has an attitude issue--but smelly dog is our issue. Yet if it started to rain and there was a real downpour, Jock dances in it! He loves rain. He barks at the thunder and lightning, and runs around for joy in the rain! He's in his element. Go figure!

Then there's Strap. Strap isn't a massive border collie like Jock. His fur is more like hair, not the thick coat that Jock carries around with him. So when it rains, Strap is miserable. We have tried to give him sheltered areas outside to escape the wet and feel more comfortable, but the look on his face in a good rainy season would break the heart of even the hardest individual. Often he just shelters at the back door, with his head on a largish garden rock (we still can't figure that one out) and snuggles in a somewhat dry zone. He gives us miserable hang dog looks when we go outside, and ignores completely Jock's dances of joy in the rain.

However, when it comes to bath-time, Strap LOVES it! We could hose him and shampoo him forever, and he would just soak it up---after his bath, he is happy for his brushing and proudly shows off his beauty. (On a side note: Strap sleeps on a trampoline--an actual big, human jumping trampoline--Maddie taught him how to jump up on it, and it now belongs to him--his sole usage...his bed.)

It's not that the boys are spoiled, but I don't think they could cope in the real world. To them having a yard of acres to run in, and eating rump steak at night is the norm..we have however, introduced dog food into their diets--replacing the steak little by little with various bits of food--their normal nightly feed consists of about a four variety course of foods--but they're our boys, and they still smile at us each morning, and sit with us at sunset for snuggles when we are there..unconditional love I think it is called....