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!

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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?”

Boomerang bureaucracy . . .

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It’s bureaucracy gone mad. MAD I tell you! Why would a chain of supermarkets be so anti-boomerangs?

And why has no-one spoken up until now?

The signs have been there for a while. But I just can’t figure out why you would ban something that has never even happened. I mean, when was the last time you saw a boomerang being thrown in a supermarket car park?

Yes, I agree, there is the risk of damage to vehicles, individuals and possibly lamp posts. But all in all, it’s a pretty harmless sport, especially after some practice. And where better to practice than a wide open supermarket car park? They’re meant to come back, right? If you’re good at it, that boomerang won’t hit anything except the palm of your hand.

And in this day and age of over-eating, under-exercising and over-thinking, I would have thought a little car park sport would be welcomed.

It’s safer than trolley racing, more fun that gutter balancing and just as skilful as dodging cars driven by hunger-crazed motorists whose only thought is to get home and tuck into that box of Tim Tams they’ve hidden at the bottom of their green bag. I’ve been there. I understand your pain.

Some may call it pro-active. I beg to differ.Snettisham, Norfolk - No right turn sign

Even my five-year old has an opinion on this. He’s tugging at my sleeve as I fume at the sign before me.

“It’s not a boomerang, Mum. It’s a traffic sign. You can’t turn here.”

“Oh.”

So boomerang throwing isn’t banned in car parks? Hmm. Perhaps we should try it.

Oh, Miguel! Where are you?

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P3101501

P3101501 (Photo credit: a_b_normal123)

I didn’t plan it this way. When I woke up this morning, it didn’t even cross my mind. But just a few hours later I found myself standing in line buying a book I didn’t want, just to get an autograph I never knew I needed.

Perhaps it was the delectable Spanish accent that kept me waiting in line for so long. Maybe it was the whole tall-dark-handsome thing or the roguish smile and cheeky sense of humour.

All I know is that I paid $30 for a book about Spanish cooking that I will probably never use. And let’s face it – this is no audio-book. So we don’t even get to hear that Spanish-English accent that makes Miguel Maestre so appealing.

That said, my kids were pretty chuffed about meeting a celebrity chef. So we stood in line as countless women before us got the kiss on both cheeks and the signature we so desperately wanted.

Then it was our turn. Miguel Maestre stood before us, pen in hand, smile at the ready. But before he could reach for our book, there was a whisper in his ear. He was needed for a taste-test. Could we wait just a minute?

“Sure,” I said. The kids had waited this long, a few more minutes wouldn’t kill us.

Moments passed and a woman appeared where Miguel should have been. He was going to be another hour. The taste-test had turned into a cook-off. Could we come back?

Probably not, I thought to myself. “Sure,” I said and turned away.

The couple behind me stepped forward. “Oh, but we’re leaving,” they gushed. “Could we just get his autograph?”

“Follow me,” said the woman while I stood back, just a little bit annoyed.

Minutes later, the couple re-appeared. He was smiling. She was glowing. What on earth had gone on back there?

Having never planned to buy Miguel’s book, much less get his autograph, I was now oddly peeved.

What to do? I gave up. There was no way I was entertaining three kids while we waited for Miguel to finish cooking.

But my husband was not so easily put off. He sat through that cooking demonstration, lined up with the throngs of excited fans and got that autograph.

The only thing he didn’t get was the double kiss. Oh well. The book is signed. It’s on a shelf. Mission accomplished.

The secret of success

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Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve had a revelation! After years of watching reality TV I’ve realised that the only thing standing between me and success is an awesome backstory! It seems that anyone who’s anyone has suffered for their art.

The only trouble I see is this – looking back through my own life story, I’m struggling to find some angst – any angst – that would qualify.

I’ve looked into addiction – but the closest I’ve ever come to any sort of substance abuse is my lifelong dependence on a long, hot cup of tea. Seven cups a day. Mmm-hmm! I tried to give up once, but after enduring a hellish 24-hour headache, I fell off the wagon with a sickening Darjeeling thud.

My next thought was homelessness – but, while we’ve moved around a lot, I’ve always had a roof over my head. I did try sleeping in a tent once. That ended badly, no-one got much sleep, but I don’t think that counts.

Broken home? No luck there either. To this day my parents still seem to like each other.

The only option left was bullying – but aside from a height challenged boss whose bald head turned a flaming red while he rocked on his toes and yelled up at me – I can’t really say I qualify for that one either.

So the only option left is invention.

I could be the secret love child of powerful statesman or the daughter of a pirate abandoned on the high seas. Perhaps I was jilted at the altar, buried alive, lost in the desert. This new life story has Hollywood blockbuster written all over it!

If nothing else I will enjoy the notoriety long enough to make a name for myself before being revealed in a dramatic expose. My story will be drafted into the annals of history and give my own kids a fabulous backstory to roll out when the time is right.

In the meantime, my plan to achieve success has just one more hurdle to overcome. Talent. Apparently I’ll need one of those too.