Monthly Archives: May 2013

The case for cats . . .

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English: Young male tabby cat

English: Young male tabby cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Owing to the backlash from last week’s blog, I have decided to dig deep and balance the scales on the whole ‘dog versus cat’ debate. I can’t make any promises, but here goes . . .

In my lifetime I’ve known several cats. There was Gustav, a white cat with shoe-polish ears; Symphony, a long-haired tortoise-shell with questionable night-time habits; Adolphus, a tabby with attitude to spare and his adopted brother Patches, a black and white feline – deaf as a doornail – who spent his days either sleeping on top of the fridge or taking pot shots at passers-by. As cats go, they were . . . cats.

My sister (the main source of last week’s backlash) was the owner of two more felines – Tinkerbell and Jakey. If there was a cat that was going to swing my opinion it would be one of those two. Before there were kids in my sister’s household, there were cats and as they grew so did the family. They were a yardstick – and occasional gearstick* – in her happy home.

This, I understand. Cats and dogs are there through all the good, bad and middling bits. Their presence is attached to memories of all sorts of events that span the years. Whether they’re watching from a perch on top of the fridge, curled up at the foot of the bed or laying claim to the best seat on the couch, they are still a member of the household.

In my sister’s words:

“It’s not that cats are better than dogs, they’re just different.”

Besides, no-one said you couldn’t love a furry tyrant bent on world domination.

Meow. 🙂

 

*I searched high and low for a picture of a cat in the gearstick pose. Sadly, no luck. You’ll just have to imagine it for yourself.

Dogs vs cats – it’s simple really

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101 Uses for a Dead Cat

101 Uses for a Dead Cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s those quiet moments – when the head-rest doesn’t quite do the job, when the pencils need sharpening or the cleavage needs a boost – that I often lament not owning a cat. A dead one.

One of the greatest books ever published takes pride of place on my bookshelf. Created by Simon Bond, ‘101 Uses for a Dead Cat’ was the starting point for my lifelong aversion to felines.

And if you need convincing, you have only to consult my extensive collection of anti-cat/pro-dog literature to confirm the extent of this loathing.

Cats are evil and I have the research to back me up.

Everyone knows that a cat only loves you when it’s hungry while a dog will give you endless devotion no matter what’s on the menu.

The relationship between a cat and a cat owner is largely one-sided, fuelled mainly by insecurity, loneliness and sheer volume of numbers.

A dog is your equal – it will give you more than you ever give to him or her while a cat is just a sponge – it takes and takes and then it dies.

A cat will slink away (as only a cat can do) when the going gets tough. But a dog? Well, a dog will be your fiercest protector in the face of pure evil (which is often a cat).

The only bad dogs I’ve ever known had bad owners while the only cats I’ve ever known were . . . cats (and you know what I think about them).

And yes, I know there have been instances where cats walked miles to find their owners but the cold reality of this scenario comes back to those fickle feline stomachs. I’m sorry to say, but your cat – it never liked you. He thought the tuna would be pinker on the other side of the settee and only came back because he realised he already had you trained.

Dogs by contrast, are loving, loyal and delightful. They make you a better person and they know that any person who’s a dog person is a person worth knowing.

Join me in a toast to the dog!

The gift that gives twice

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Gifted Magazine

Gifted Magazine (Photo credit: Creature Comforts)

Mothers’ Day has been and gone. So what have we learned?

The answer is simple – the best gift of all is the gift you’d give to yourself.

I awoke on Mothers’ Day to a tepid cup of tea made direct from the tap and a bowl of soggy cereal lovingly carted up the stairs and liberally dripped all over them.

Sleep in? What sleep in? They were bouncing on the bed in no time demanding that I get up and open their presents.

Okay, okay. First up was a little wooden box lovingly decorated with whale stickers. This was a treat! The youngest has an un-abiding passion for sea creatures. So, for him to share his sticker collection was a big step indeed. There were hushed discussions at the foot of the bed about wanting his killer whale sticker back, but his sister held firm. “You can’t have it yet!” she said.

Next up was an origami cup with personalised tea bag. Lipton’s tag had been replaced by another reading ‘Enjoy you cuppa’ on one side and ‘I love you’ on the other. Aw, shweet!

Last but not least was a multi-media canvas featuring hearts, spots, squiggles and more.

After much admiration, the energetic trio left me in peace to enjoy my morning cuppa and by the time I was finished – it had long turned cold – I was ready to find new homes for my prezzies. But where had they gone?

A little investigation revealed that my sea creature box now had pride of place on the youngest child’s book shelf and was already loaded up with treasures. My tea bag had relocated to the mid-kid’s room amongst a collection of other bits and bobs while the canvas adorned the wall of the eldest child’s room.

It’s the gesture that counts after all. 🙂

Let’s talk skinny jeans!

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It’s official! Skinny jeans are out. How do I know? I just bought a pair.

It’s taken me years to get on board this particular fashion bandwagon, mainly because I like my jeans to wear out before I replace them.

So, while my faithful bootlegs have hung in there, I’ve studiously ignored the skinny-legged stylings of all those around me.

That was until a fateful day one week ago when a breeze at knee height caught my attention. A hole! At last I had an excuse to go shopping.

It took some convincing on the part of the sales assistant but I finally broke the habit of the last three years and traded those bootlegs for skinny jeans. And yesterday, I wore them for the first time.

I can’t say it was a particularly pleasant experience. It reminded me of my very first training bra and that awful strangling sensation that persists until you get changed or get over it.

I found myself wondering if the air force could make use of skinny jeans to deal with all those extra G-forces you hear about. No more fancy pressure suits. Just wear skinny jeans!

Until I hear back from the defence force I will continue my own skinny jean trial knowing full well that the trend will probably end next week and my jeans will end up being filed alongside the shrug that I bought too late, the ra-ra skirt I coveted for months on end, the scrunchies I saw too much of and the hyper-colour t-shirt that lasted one wash (but I never could bring myself to throw away).

Now, you’ll have to excuse me while I go and loosen these jeans and take a deep breath.

Have tent, will travel . . .

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Eucalyptus camaldulensis (River Red Gum)

Eucalyptus camaldulensis (River Red Gum) (Photo credit: Arthur Chapman)

Someone said “camping” and I found myself agreeing to three days and two nights in the great outdoors. But not without some trepidation.

I should point out that the last time I went camping was in 1991. It was a school trip. We spent two nights shivering under canvas at the base of a dam wall – anything could have happened. And it did.

Between tent-hopping twins, the joys of public shower facilities and the ever present threat of dam wall collapse we spent our time variously hiking, freezing and starving.

I’ve never been so happy to see the not-so-bright-lights of home.

Fast forward to last week’s grand adventure and I found myself hunkered down under canvas once more. No dam wall hanging over our shoulders this time but the ever present threat of venomous tent guests, fast flowing river currents just metres from our door and a forest of trees with a tendency to drop their limbs when you least expect it.

After a night of all-too-frequent trips to the loo (thanks to the mid-kid and her nervous bladder) we headed to the river for a spot of fishing. All was going well until the youngest realised that once you fish them out, they never go back in. There were tears. His world would never be the same again.*

Night two and we spent an hour spotting kangaroos out on the sandhills. With the count nearing one hundred we returned to camp and settled in once more. Surely they would sleep tonight.

Ah, no. The youngest slept soundly. But the mid-kid was anxious about her nervous bladder which only made matters worse. The eldest talked more in her sleep than she does in the everyday and the husband developed a tummy bug.

Oh the joys of camping. Apparently it went so well, we’re doing it again. Soon.

*Now every meal is preceded by the question “What did we kill for this?”