Archive for January, 2010

Are you listening?

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.

~Christopher Morley

Oscar (dad)

“You can say any foolish thing to do to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘You’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!’” — Dave Berry, musician


For more wise animals, please visit: Pet Pride!

The cloths of heaven

It was cold, sub-zero temperatures — and yet the air was so alive with crystals of moisture. There, at the end of the street, I saw a rainbow, which later on went to weave its colours into the clouds and skies.

Bringing to mind one of my favourite poems by W.B. Yeats…

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

For more magical skies, please visit: Skywatch!


Anklebiter # 1: Mama, you know what? I’m paranoid.

Brief pause while I wonder how to respond.

Anklebiter # 1: I know what paranoid means.


Me: Really? What?

Anklebiter: Well, it’s when you’re really annoyed with your parents.


Anklebiter: I’m paranoid quite a lot.

Does that mean I’m going to be kiddanoid when they’re teenagers then?

Seeds of hope

It amazes me to see trees in hibernation, seeds covered in thick crusts of frost

That defy gravity and, instead, cling to the branch in icy embrace.

Just think how fragile the bond between ice and tree:

All it takes is a slight change in temperature

And the whole relationship crumbles, ends

Fluttering to the ground in a soft explosions of snow.

Just like human relationships.

Yet those seeds survive the cold, those Arctic breezes

To blossom out into flowers of hope when spring arrives.

For more peeks into other parts of the world, please visit: My World!

The Given Day

At last, dear readers, I’m ready to bring you another review of yet another huge novel: The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.

Lehane  – he of thriller fame? Yes, the very one. The master of cool noir has now written a literary novel based on the Boston police strike back in 1919.

The Spanish flu, immigration, segregation of blacks and whites, corruption, violence – and love – all appear in this sweeping novel (over 700 pages).

The two protagonists are Luther, on the run after killing a mafia boss, and Danny, son of one of Boston’s most powerful police captains. The threads of their lives become intertwined in Boston, where they survive tough times and become friends, overcoming the racial barriers still in force at that time.

And how clever of you to notice that the horse in my photo is a reference to the mafia (think Godfather)!

The real main character though is the historical setting of Boston and the police strike of 1919. At times, the history takes over the story and makes the human characters pale into insignificance.

I enjoyed the story – and although it flagged a bit here and there – there was a thrilling finale followed by an all-too neat tying up of loose ends.

My final verdict? Rich, intricate storytelling with a hint of fury.


Help! The sky has disappeared!

Can you see it?

Nope – no sign of the sky around here.

Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to enjoy the scenery instead.

For some more visible skies, check out: Skywatch!

Contemplating your navel

As a language expert afficionado, you get asked all sorts of odd questions.

My editor wrote to ask me a vital question: What do we call that stuff that collects in the filter of a clothes dryer? I immediately told her the exact scientific word: fluff.

She then mailed me back and wanted to know what you call the stuff that collects in your belly button.

I know, I know… my day is filled with tasks of startling importance!

Naturally, I told her that we call this stuff ‘belly button fluff’, but then decided to dazzle her with the extent of my knowledge and let her know that the real term for these kind of ‘fluffs’ is, in fact, lint.

Yes – you get pocket lint, clothes dryer lint and – wait for it – navel lint!

I’ll wait while you applaud me for making your day.

Now, navel lint is truly fascinating to many, it seems. In fact, a Dr. Karl Kruszelniki from Australia even went as far as to delve into the in and outs (pun intended) of belly button fluff. He was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2002 for ‘achievements that cannot or should not be repeated’.

Thanks Wikipedia for this disturbing image!

This stuff defies the laws of gravity and – contrary to popular belief – it doesn’t migrate downwards from your armpits but upwards from your underwear.

One thing I wonder though is this: if your belly button sticks out does that mean you collect less fluff than if you’re an ‘innie’ and your belly button is sunk into your tummy?

I’ll just tiptoe away now and leave you to contemplate your navel – or maybe even someone else’s!

Working on ice

The ice started rumbling and shaking…

What was going on?

Even the dogs had a quick peek in mid-gallop.

It was the man with one of the best jobs you can have when it’s winter:

Driving a motorbike all day long and getting paid for it.

Yes – it’s the snow plough making the ice smooth for all the skaters!

And my, just look at the glorious view he has from his seat of work.

No wonder he’s out on the lake every day polishing the ice.

For more great views, please visit: My World!

The tail of a sick dog

Day one: Actually this tale starts a couple of days before day 1 when Oscar stopped eating altogether (well, apart from those reeds, sticks – and yes, that skate blade protector)! Shortly afterwards, he started rushing upstairs to leave me sticky packets of vomited love next to the bed. In the middle of the night. And then he would complete his love by leaving a few more tokens of affection downstairs – for good measure!

Anyway, when Day One came around I was wondering just how worried I should be. According to the vet, very worried…. So we rushed him into the emergency vet’s, got him hooked up to all sorts of drugs (and no, the vets weren’t sharing) and took X rays to see what was causing the problem.

Sir Pe was Florence Nightingale while I stayed at home with the anklebiters and would have bitten my nails to the quick, if I were a nail biter, that is.

After a long series of X rays, the verdict was that something was blocking his colon – and yes, I’m referring to the dog’s colon here!. Pumped full of antibiotics and nourishing liquids, he was allowed back home. We thought he was going to be operated on the next day and Sir Pe spent the night on the couch next to the dog.

Day two: I thought the dog was going to die in surgery, so I elected to spend the day at the vet’s.

The X rays weren’t in agreement with my verdict and instead they showed that the mysterious UIO (unidentified intestinal object) was on the move. Good news – no surgery! The bottom line that day (if you’ll excuse the pun) was to take Oscar out for cold walks in order to make him poop out whatever was in there!

To no avail.

He was on the drip, off the drip, out for a walk, on the drip, off the drip, out for a walk…

Finally, an enema did the trick and the dog came back full of life and mischief — and a lot emptier too.

Was it a foreign object? We don’t know. The vet on duty on Saturday thought so. The Sunday vet thought it was more likely to be a build-up of gas – a kind of canine colic if you like.

Remind me that my next pet will be something simple – like stick insects, a man or a slinky, perhaps!

For healthier pets, please visit: Pet Pride!

Pretty as a picture

It was cold. And a seemingly dull day.

Until I looked up and spied red streaks across the sky.

I rushed to find a gap in the trees and was blessed with this sight…

The branches of snow-laden trees gracefully framed this lovely view.

My heart swelled, and I was humbled.

For more stunning skies, please visit: Skywatch!