Friday, 28 April 2017

Lola goes to the beauty parlour

I only go to the hairdressers every 4 months or so, which is probably a good thing because Lola's visit to the groomers today cost $79.  It seems like a lot of money - especially if you are getting your pooch primped every 6-8 weeks.  Luckily we try and do Lola ourselves between professional cuts. 

Sounds reasonably easy.  Buy clippers and scissors, wash pooch, dry pooch, clip pooch, trim pooch - done!  However, as past experience has shown, it's never quite that easy.  Lola has often gone out with half a haircut because she just wouldn't sit still any longer.  Patches and tufts of hair can be cute right? And anyway, surely dogs don't have bad hair days and laugh at each others hair cuts?  Well maybe they do at some of those poodles!

Anyway, she came home looking lovely, smelling clean and best of all they cut her nails - something we hate doing.  Then I read the following in "Groomer to Groomer" magazine and decided that it was $79 well spent.  I can colour my own hair at home and put the money saved towards Lola's next haircut.

10. Your hairdresser doesn't wash and clean your rear end.
9. You don't go eight weeks without washing or brushing your hair.
8. Your hairdresser doesn't give you a sanitary trim.
7. Your hairdresser doesn't clean your ears.
6. Your hairdresser doesn't remove the boogies from your eyes.
5. You sit still for your hairdresser.
4. Your haircut doesn't include a manicure or pedicure.
3. Your hairdresser only washes and cuts the hair on your head.
2. You don't bite or scratch your hairdresser.
1. The likelihood of you pooping on the hairdresser is pretty slim.
Yep, definitely money well spent.


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Forever in our hearts

On Tuesday we bid our final farewell to our Lucas although he will forever be in our hearts. We had already decided that we did not need to keep his ashes and we wanted to spread them out in the sea.

So we headed to Hampton beach, the place where he lived out his final days happily splashing in the water and chasing his ball.  It's a shame he didn't get to enjoy living so close for longer.  Mark, Anna, Andrea and Belinda accompanied us along with Lola and Buddy.  It was a wet wintery day, but at that moment the sun shone.  We sprinkled his ashes, we threw the beautiful wreath of white roses that Emilio had made, we threw in his collar and another ball, because we always had to have 2 with us for him.  Saying goodbye was hard, so many wonderful memories.

We ate roast chicken and salad rolls in his honour. There was a whole roast chicken left over and I'm sure he was looking down on us and thinking that chicken is mine.  It was a special day, for a very special friend.

Lola has been acting a little out of sorts.  Maybe as his smell fades, she is finally coming to terms with the fact that he has gone for good.  She has taken to sleeping on his corner of the couch, on his bed in our bedroom and to following us around more than she used to. 

Today I went to the library to drop off a book.  As I was heading out a book caught my eye.  "There are no sad dogs in heaven". Now I'm not sure I believe in heaven, but I took it out.  Maybe another sign, or maybe I'm just seeing the signs I need to see to make sense of the loss and find comfort.

Monday, 24 April 2017

A Dog's Purpose

Cue spooky music.

Just last night I saw an advert on TV for the new film "A Dog's Purpose" and commented to Emi that we should go and see this and said that maybe it was a sign from Lucas.

So you can imagine my surprise when the post arrived and there was an envelope addressed to me with a complimentary pass for two to the movie.  All I know is that it has come from Entertainment One.  Now I know that the photo on the front is of a golden retriever, but it looks a little bit like my baby and the line at the top of the invite reads "Some pets stay with you forever".

If anyone has any answers as to the mystery of the pass, please let me know.  Then again, maybe I don't need to know, maybe it's just meant to be.

"The film shares the heartwarming story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love and is also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bond between man and man's best friend"

Sounds like there will be tears - will take plenty of tissues.  After all, I've seen Marley and Me at least 3 times and balled my eyes out every time.

Lucas will indeed stay in our hearts forever.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ole for Spanish Films!

Ole! The 2017 Spanish Film Festival is on again.  Last night we went and saw Kiki, El Amor Se Hace (Kiki, Love to Love). What I didn't know is that this is a remake of an Australian Film released in 2014 The Little Death, which only made $400,000 at the box office here in Oz.  It's also been a remake in France, Poland and Estonia.

Haven't seen the original (or the Estonian version for that matter), but the Spanish version is fabulous.  Set in Madrid and across five separate stories, Kiki: Love to Love’s characters all share one thing in common: an unusual impulse that they are unable to suppress as these MadrileƱos set out on a hilarious series of adventures in pleasure. 

Reminiscent of early Pedro Almodovar, and after these last couple of sad weeks, we really needed a good laugh and this did it for us.  A bonus was a Q&A after the movie with one of the stars Natalia de Molina.  Even got a pic with her.

Oh, I even did a Weekend Notes article on the Festival :)


Discovering Melbourne - Richmond

Saturday 22 April, a stroll around Richmond - take 3.  Although the weather once again threatened to put a dampener on our day out, it was warm and even sunny-ish. Been to Richmond a few times to visit one of the many cafes, bars and of course for a spot of shopping along Bridge Road.  Who can forget the $10 in 10  challenge?  The challenge, to see who could get the best bargain for $10 or under in 10 minutes. Try it, it's fun.

But this time, we had a few ideas of what we wanted to see, but no set plan.  Richmond has a lot of amazing street art, particularly around Richmond Train station and the little streets off Swan Street.  Saw some, but will need to do a more thorough walk through with more time.

First stop, Rustica Canteen for a coffee and croissant.  All looked delish, but needed to pace ourselves. On to Pana chocolate. Lovely little shop with all their products being vegan, organic, with no refined sugar, and produced using minimal heat (raw).  I'd heard of this place, but will need to come back to try it out.

Stumbled upon Kazari warehouse and what an amazing find.  Kazari + Ziguzagu stock a range of textiles, artwork,  antiques, vintage and contemporary furniture from Japan, China, Indonesia and Vietnam and so much more.  It's a regular Aladdin's cave filled with all sorts of treasures.  Was tempted, but held strong to my no shopping mantra.

Crossed the Church Street Bridge, a lovely arched bridge over the Yarra River joining Richmond and South Yarra and followed the river towards Herring Island.  Yay, would finally get to visit Herring Island!  OK, not so fast, there was no punt service and have since found the following  The Herring Island punt service operates 11am-5pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays (except Christmas Day) between the dates of 17 December 2016 and 17 April 2017.  Missed the boat by 5 days. Oh well, back on the list for later this year.

We had worked up a bit of an appetite by this time and Kanteen  (strictly speaking, not in Richmond, but rather South Yarra) was right there on the river.  Sat outside under a lovely gum tree at least looking at Herring Island - even if we couldn't actually get on to it. 

Managed to make a little room for our last stop on the stroll back - Gelato Messina. Although I had tried Belinda's Dr Evils Magic Mushroom cake on her birthday, I was yet to try their ice-cream - and it was on the list! Decisions, decisions. So many choices and they all looked sooooo good.  Couple of taste tests and then settled on the Coconut & Roast Almond Sorbet with Chocolate Coated Almonds and the Gianduia Gelato (chocolate & hazelnut).  Both nice, but probably not the best ice-cream I've ever had.  But a tick off the list!  And yes of course I would eat it again.

Verdict.  You need many, many strolls around Richmond to cover it all and there is heaps to see and do.  What surprised us is that if you move away from the main streets, you find all these quiet, little shady pockets.
The lovely Heather (aka Old Deer) taking a break 
Somebody tell the Old Ewe that there's no sun indoors 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Ashes to Ashes

I didn't realise that collecting Lucas's ashes would be so difficult.  I guess it's somewhat like getting through the funeral of a loved one.  It feels all so real now.  I will never get to play with those soft ears or look into those eyes and see pure love reflected back.  There were lots of tears last night.

I've been reading a little bit about grief.  The loss of a pet is very much recognised as being every bit as hard as the loss of any family member or close friend.  It has helped to read this as I was feeling guilty that I can feel just as bad at losing Lucas as I did say when I lost my parents.

What has also been hard is the decision to euthanise. Although we had agreed that putting him through a further operation was not in his or our best interest it is still hard to accept.  What if we'd waited a few days?  What if we had taken him home and just gave him treats and cuddles and told him ho much he was loved? What if we had 1 more day? What if by some miracle he had recovered? Maybe this is why the whole euthanasia argument can get so heated.

I know we made the right decision.  I know we were very lucky to have had him for over 12 years. I know he had a brilliant life.  But I miss him.

Monday, 17 April 2017

A long weekend around Geelong

Back from our Easter Weekend staying at the Old Paper Mills at Fyansford.  Arrived on Friday afternoon after stopping in Geelong for a look around (it's about 5km from the City centre) and there were cars everywhere! Thoughts of a relaxing few days went out the window.  Not to fear, it was simply a charity event that they were holding there.  The rest of the weekend was very peaceful. 

The little apartment, named "Prayag" is on the bottom floor of the owners home.  Very cute, with natural stone walls and a wood fire, had everything we needed included plenty of grass and space for Lola.  The only negative was that it sounded like a herd of elephants were romping around upstairs.  Luckily at night time they slept and weren't early risers.

The Mill sits right on the Barwon River near Buckley Falls and it's beautiful walking around the river.  Emi found a good fishing platform and although he took the kayak, decided it was too cold to go for a paddle!

Saturday drive around the Bellarine Peninsula stopping at Manzanillo Grove in Drysdale and a couple of other spots and for a stroll around Portarlington.  What is it about "country" towns and bakeries and the need to visit and sample from all of them??  They have a magical pull.  Also stopped in Queenscliff for a look around and visited the museum, a couple of galleries and a great produce shop.  Ever wonder if it's spelt Queenscliffe or Queenscliff?  Well the Borough is called the Borough of Queenscliffe and includes Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale. The town itself it Queenscliff.  So now you know.  The whole peninsular is a lovely spot.  Will need to go back to do the Blues Train.

Easter Sunday and Andrea came to spend the day.  If you haven't been to Geelong or it's been ages, it's really worth the visit.  Heaps to see and do.  The cultural precinct is beautiful and although not really art gallery types,  it's a stunning building that has the modern, futuristic library sort of built in alongside it.  The old and the new combined. Shame that the library was closed. 

After lunch at the end of Cunningham Pier, we paid a visit to the SV Tenacious.  Tenacious is the world’s largest operative wooden hulled tall ship, built by the Jubilee Sailing Trust specifically to be fully accessible for persons with disabilities. She includes wheelchair lifts, a speaking compass and a joystick to enable people with limited dexterity to helm the ship.  They are offering a $1,000 for 21 days price to sail from Melbourne to Wellington bargain! Would be such an amazing experience.  I'd love to do something like this - will have to add it to the list!  Certainly different to a Princess Cruise.

The Bollards of Geelong are iconic.  In total there are 48 sites with over 100 bollards installed right around the Waterfront from Limeburner’s Point to Rippleside Park. Artist Jan Mitchell was commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong in 1995 to transform reclaimed timber pier pylons into these remarkable works of art.  We didn't photograph them all, but managed a fair few!

And home again today after a final walk and breakfast.  Certainly missed my Chico Lucas.  Not quiet the same going on these little holidays with out him.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Tail on the Road

Always dreamed of having "Tails on the Road" emblazoned on the side of the caravan. And that's what I always say when we head off on a trip.  Our first trip away without Lucas will feel sad and strange.  Including for Lola - she'll have the whole back seat of the car to herself! Usually she ends up squashed against the door because Lucas liked to stretch himself out and make himself comfortable.  But it does remind us of all the wonderful trips we did get to do with him and for that we're thankful.

Talking of Lola, she's been on the job this week - acting supervisor.  But yesterday she was found to be skiving off the job when it was discovered she had gone walkabout.  Emi flew into a mad panic and sent out the search parties.  Luckily she was picked up by someone and was safely returned.  I'm sure only 15 minutes passed, but to Emi it must have felt like hours.  Remanded to home duties today.

We do call her Lola the Explorer.  She does have the habit of following her nose off on some new adventure at times.  So different in character to Lucas.  Much more independent, not as "needy", although when she wants to be scratched she's very insistent with the paw.  So my little girl is coming to terms with all the extra attention she's getting and seems to be enjoying it.  I don't think she has fully realised that Lucas has gone, although we did take her with us to say goodbye.

So just a short distance trip this Easter weekend to the very interesting sounding The Old Paper Mills at Fyansford near Geelong.   We are looking forward to it and to discovering new things.

Happy Easter.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Dogs really are amazing

It's been a tough few days.  Reading back my last post has actually been very helpful.  It reminds me what a fabulous life Lucas had and how lucky we were to share it with him over the last 12 years.  The house still seems empty without him.  Cooking in the kitchen without having to constantly step over and around him, switching on the light at night to make sure we didn't trip over him, showering without having to nudge him with the shower screen to move and even having a wee in peace all feel very strange. 

Yesterday I went and got a new tattoo, not that I really need it to remember him, but it makes me smile each time I see it.

Dogs really are amazing.

 "Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot about puppies"

"The best therapist is furry and has four legs"

"Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole"

"Be the person your dog thinks your are"

"Life is better with a dog"

Friday, 7 April 2017

"Lucas" 30 September 2004 - 5 April 2017 RIP my angel

On Wednesday 5 April 2017 at 9.15am we farewelled our best friend, our companion, our fur-baby, our angel, my bubba Lucas. Losing a beloved pet is losing a member of the family.  The grief, sadness, anger, regret and pain are very real.  All too real.  Maybe because they become so completely devoted and reliant on us.  They adore us, they worship us, they wait patiently for us to come home (even if we've just gone to the letter box) they want nothing more than cuddles, to be around us and kind words, and chicken.  Lucas always wanted chicken (and liver treats, any treats really, oh and food, didn't matter what, if we were eating it, he wanted it).

We didn't set out to get a puppy that Sunday back in December 2004.  Emilio hadn't even been given permanent residence in the country! Just another Sunday afternoon walk along Chapel Street to buy bread and milk. And there he was, in a pet shop window all by himself.  Now I'm not proud of the fact that we supported the puppy farm industry that day.  Must admit I was more ignorant then than now and I wholeheartedly support the closure of all puppy farms (I want Oscar's Law) and adopt don't shop. But we went in and came out with a 10 week old wriggly bundle that was soon to be named Lucas.

We didn't have food, toys, a bed or anything really for a puppy.  Hell, we hadn't even remembered to buy the bread and milk! We didn't even have that much furniture in those days and lived in a little rented 2 bedroom house in South Yarra where we hadn't asked if we could have a dog.

Minor details.  We had Lucas.  From day 1 he was a little whirlwind.  A bundle of energy constantly tripping over his own ears.  A piddling, playful puppy who howled when we left him in the laundry at night.  Luckily Emi was studying at the time and worked in the evenings so he was rarely home alone for too long.  Which was a good thing because he was destructive!  Lucas's penchant was for wood and cardboard.  He chewed the coffee table, he chewed the wall unit, he chewed our wedding albums, he chewed anything we left on the shelf under the coffee table, and progressed to anything on the coffee table as he grew and any photo frame within his reach soon became "lame" as he seemed to love the bit that props them up at the back. 

He liked his toys, but fell in love with the frog draught stopper.  And when I say "love" I really mean lust.  He did unmentionable things to that poor frog and carried it around with him everywhere.  Like his security blanket, he eventually grew out of it and it had to go.

His, and our first Christmas in Melbourne and we spent it with the Old Duck's family in Ararat.  Lucas was an additional unexpected guest.  I'll never forget finding farmer Baz rolling around on the floor with him in the lounge room, his words, "he's a good little fella".

One night Emilio came home to find me in tears with scratches all over my arms.  Lucas had spent the night hurling himself at me biting, scratching and wanting to play.  I hate to say it, but at that moment, I thought what the hell have we done?  Another night I went to bed at 11.30.  Emi was due home around midnight so I made the mistake of thinking OK, I'll leave him in the lounge to see how he goes.  30 minutes is a long time in puppy years.  Somehow he managed to knock everything off the coffee table, destroy several magazines, eat a photo frame and score the jackpot - a whole bowl of little solid Easter eggs.  Which he of course ate, foil and all.  Now we all know that chocolate is not good for dogs so we anxiously watched for any signs of illness.  The only reaction, very colourful poop over the next couple of days.

The day we collected our car in January 2005 was special.  Not because after 8 months without one we finally had a car, but because for the first time we were able to take Lucas to the beach.  St Kilda on a warm Wednesday evening.  He was not happy when Emi threw him in.  But it was the start of his love affair with the beach, with puddles, rivers, any water really - well maybe not so much warm bath water whilst getting a wash.

Ah it's fun being a puppy in South Yarra!  We lived near big, beautiful Fawkner Park where Lucas soon made lots of friends.  The great thing about having a puppy when you are new to an area?  We got to meet loads of new friends as well.  Every evening was a little doggy community gathering.  Lucas's BFF's at the time, Buster, Paco and Lulu.  All around the same age, Buster and Lucas in particular were inseparable - sometime literally, as they tussled for hours.  He would get home, with ears sopping wet, and once his belly was full, would fall into a doggy dreamland where he was still chasing Buster and where they finally caught the rabbit.  He also met his surrogate "dad" Leo, a beautiful standard poodle who he loved and respected at the same time.

Lucas was a babe magnet.  Not so much the four legged kind like him (in fact, it seems that male dogs found him far more attractive than female dogs), but the 2 legged kind.  Now Emi has never been a mad keen shopper so I had no idea why he seemed to like spending so much time walking down Chapel Street. Until I saw the 2 of them in action.  The shoestring strap top incident will go down in history.  23, tall, long hair, sunny day.  Oh look at the gorgeous puppy!  I too have been known to bend down and let them jump up for kisses and so I can smell their puppy breath (nothing beats the smell of puppy breath - until they discover that poo can sometimes taste great).  Unfortunately for this young lady, Lucas managed to get his paw caught in her top and pulled the whole thing down breaking the straps in the process.  Now I guess if I had young, firm pert breasts, I wouldn't worry too much about wearing a bra either.  Anyway suffice to say, there was embarrassment and apologies (neither of which came from Lucas) and a hasty retreat (probably to the nearest clothing store).  I thought Emilio could have waited more than 30 seconds to bend down and tell Lucas what a good boy he was.  And how the hell he ever taught him that, I have no idea.

Lucas has nuzzled ONJ's (Olivia Newton John's) breasts too.  She's a dog lover that bends down to receive puppy kisses too and as it happened, shopped at the local South Yarra Woolies.

There were very many other funny incidents.  The whole, hot tortilla off the table (note to selves, never, ever trust a dog no matter how well trained to not remove unattended food that has been left at nose level), the no I was not scrounging in the bin even if I have somehow managed to get the bin lid stuck around my neck, or the not me, I did not smash that plate trying to steal food off the kitchen counter.  The night he found a hot roast chicken, and the countless mornings I would be screaming at him like a mad women because he was sitting in a muddy puddle and I was going to be once again late for work.  If there was a puddle, he would find it and he knew ever single goddamn puddle at Fawkner Park. So many wonderful memories. 

In April 2006, along came Lola, a baby sister for Lucas.  Not quiet the second cocker spaniel we had planned on, but hey, these things happen - an unplanned adoption if you like.  He wasn't overly impressed, but gradually came to accept her although they were never completely enamoured with one another.  Still they played together and he was good at sharing his toys (food, not so much).  Not so happy when Buster seemed to fall in love with Lola and want to spend his whole time licking her rather than playing with him, but that's what happens when your bestie gets a girlfriend.

We moved to Coburg.  He made new friends.  We really missed South Yarra, but maybe we really missed Fawkner Park, we went back.  Ah it was good to be back in the hood.  Holidays were spent staying at Jane's with the zoo!  What fun, dogs and cats to play with all day long!  People came and stayed, they too came under the spell that is Lucas.  Life was one big doggy party with lots of friends, walk, parks and beaches. 

Oh and weekends away!  Lucas loved the car.  The car meant one thing, doggy adventures and maybe some fishing!  Whenever we were packing to go away, there would be Lucas, by the front door waiting.  He hated when we went away without him, although he always had so many wonderful people who have cared for him over the years.  But on the trips when he came with us, he was happy.  The slightest sniff of ocean would set him off.  The nose would quiver and point out the window, the eyes would close and the ears would be flapping in the breeze.  Fishing with dad was the best.  In would go the lure, in would go Lucas.  Waves - no problem.  Several times he would be sent tumbling to the shore, but that was OK, he'd be straight back in.  So many places visited, so many new sniffs and smells, so happy that there are so many doggy friendly holiday houses out there.

Between play, came work.  The best thing was being able to go on site with dad, was that Lucas got to dig in new gardens - just like his dad!  Some houses even had other dogs to play with.  And even days where he had to sit tied up to the trailer were fine too, 'cos he got to watch and be close to his dad.

2011 and the big move to Perth.  Lucas and Lola cross the Nullarbor.  Another new adventure!  A whole new city to explore, new family and friends to make and meet.   A house with a huge back garden - different after growing up living in areas with only small gardens.  Different plants, new smells and even a whole new ocean!  And then in 2013, it was back in the car for the return trip across the Nullarbor, this time with Christian in the car instead of mummy.  Back to Melbourne, home again.

Carnegie, a different suburb, we missed Fawkner Park, but this was nice too.  Still plenty of walking, playtime, working with dad and going away on weekends. 

2014, the big 1-0!  What an amazing 10 years those eyes had seen, that nose had sniffed, those long floppy ears had heard and those paws had covered.  Over the years there have been many trips to the vet (I'm sure we have put many a vet's children through uni).  There was the severe ear infection (and being a cocker spaniel that loved water, we can consider ourselves lucky that there was only ever one really bad one), the arthritis that crept in, eye infections, rat poison ingestion (really Lucas - with all the delicious food we gave you),  the lumps and bumps and all the little mishaps (paw caught in door and nail ripped out - ouch. The bandage the vet carefully applied that had lovely ladybugs on it cost $20 and lasted about 30 seconds) that show a life well lived. 

Christmas 2015 and another long car trip and Lucas's first ferry ride to Kangaroo Island.  For a dog that loved water, he certainly loved being in it rather than on it.  Yet another ocean to swim in.  Lucas did more kilometres than most people do in their whole lives.

And then the holy grail, in 2016 we moved 5 minutes from the beach!  Ah to be able to wake up every morning and smell the salt air.  To spend many hours walking along, swimming, running and chasing the ball.  Yes, by then he'd return home tired and limping, but the joy in his eyes shone bright. 

Sadly, it was short lived and mid August Lucas ruptured a disc in his back.  He hated being in hospital and seeing him like that broke our hearts.  We got him home as soon as possible and it was a slow, but steady recovery.  Back surgery wasn't going to stop him and although he now slightly dragged one of his back legs and struggled to walk for too long, his eyes still lit up at the sight of the beach.  Barking and wagging his tail, he'd still want to chase his ball and swim. Maybe swimming and the cold water helped ease the pain in his legs.  We sometimes thought it was too much for him, but couldn't take away that joy.  There was only ever one direction he ever wanted to head in when we went out for a walk.

The decision to not go on anymore trips without him was an easy one.  He has always been a sooky boy, but maybe as he grew older (and grumpier), he needed to be close to us.  He hated us leaving him for any length of time and would be our constant shadow at home.  Always needing to be in contact and know we were close by.  His spirit the last few months was amazing.  Even last weekend he was running, barking and swimming at the beach.  And at night he would rest his head on my lap and look at me with those beautiful eyes that seemed to say thanks mum, I had a great day.  Deep down I knew we didn't have long.  I thought 2 more years would be fantastic, I would settle for 1 as long as he wasn't in too much pain.

In the end if was quick.  Maybe we was wiser and stronger than we are.  And when the pain got too much for him and he could see the pain in our eyes, maybe he decided it's time.  I think on Tuesday night we both knew.  The emergency hospital where he had his operation was out of the question.  We would sit with him and hold him and tell him how much we loved him.  And we hoped for a miracle.  That come morning, he would be able to stand and all would be well.  Maybe it was just a pinched nerve.  Morning came, his ability to stand did not.  We looked in his eyes and he looked back with a sense of calm and love.  Maybe that's what we needed to see.

The trip to the vet was one of the hardest we have ever had to make.  Yes, it appeared another disc had ruptured.  There were no guarantees that another operation would work or would it just prolong the pain?  Yes, he was getting old.  Maybe the additional time we had with him since his surgery made the decision to let go that little bit easier.  We would not put him through all of that again. 

Lucas fell asleep in our arms peacefully knowing he was very much loved and that he would be truly missed.  The house is not the same without him.  It feels empty.  On Wednesday afternoon we took Lola to the beach to watch the sunset.  She had a play with his favourite ball and then we threw it into the bay so he would forever be able to run, chase and splash after that ball.

At home a candle burns to light his way.  When his ashes are returned to us we will set them free in the sea he loved so much.  We don't need to keep them, he will forever be in our hearts and memories.

RIP my beautiful boy and thank you for making our lives so much better for having you in it.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Joy of Less

Just finished reading The Joy of Less by Francine Jay - as if I needed further encouragement to continue working towards having less stuff.  I borrowed it from the library.

One interesting topic that she touches on is the growing disillusionment with consumerism.  It appears that there has been a shift and people are beginning to realise that less is more and more doesn't necessarily equal happiness.  And apparently big retailers are getting worried.  They of course would have us believe that we need the latest and greatest in gadgets.  That we need a wardrobe full of new seasons clothes and that shopping is the ideal past time.  Sale! Sale! Sale!  50% off, Bargains, Clearance.  Ah those magic words. 

Happiness is not on sale at Myer. Never has been, never will be. So why do we buy into the subtle message of advertisements?  Shopping can be fun - ah the lure of colourful bags and finding bargains.  But then comes the guilt.  Maybe I shouldn't have spent so much, buyer remorse, credit card debt.  And confession time, I have put something new on and said "what this old thing, have had it for ages."  These shoes, but they were an absolute bargain, just because I haven't worn them in the 3 years since I got them doesn't matter.    

Went to Southland and can say I was only tempted briefly - in Aldi whilst doing some grocery shopping.  Did not feel the need to go into any other shop and check out the sale rack.  So that has now been 3 months of no shopping. 

Anyway, the book has encouraged me to let go of more stuff - it's even fun. Although, I can see myself having to go out and buy comfy undies or go commando - the Joy of Less. 

That was all I bit deep.  I like this tattoo - maybe the one for this year?

Saturday, 1 April 2017

What started me off?

As the first quarter of 2017 slips off into the sunset (how the hell did that happen), time to re-visit the lists.  Someone asked me recently what started me off?  The idea of bucket lists, life lists whatever you call them isn't exactly new.  How often do we say, "I'll add it to the list" I just decided that instead of always saying "I'll do that one day" and never getting around to it, I would jot things down and make an effort to make sure one day comes. 

I'm never going to get through everything.  I would need more than just good batteries, lots of money and lots of years.  But hey, dreams and goals are good.  And there is no point having a static list, 'cos new things pop up all the time, ideas change and sometimes it's even a case of what was I thinking?

But where was I?  Oh yes, what made me start. I remember waking up on New Years Day in 2015. We were at Cindy's house having returned after the NYE Sydney fireworks (amazing and a must do, but getting home was a 'mare) at 5am and needing to get up to catch a flight home.  My first thought was holy fuck, I'm gonna be 50 this year. Then on January 11, as I took a little timeout to remember my dear Mama, the thought came to me that she left us way too soon at only 70 and that gave me only 20 more years to do all the things I want to do.  It seems such a short amount of time. I became a bit morbidly obsessed that I would die before I did anything to the extent that in February, I had a full on panic attack.  Anyway, thanks to the miracle of drugs, I eventually started feeling better (no cancer or anything immediately life threatening - I checked) and viola, the list was born!

It started off as 31 things to do in the month I turn 50 (October) and then became 50 things to do in the year I turn 50.  Before long, there were over 100 things on that 2015 list and little sub lists had popped up like mushrooms all over the place.  I jotted stuff down stuff on bits of paper, in notebooks (I have a notebook fetish, but have since discovered I am not alone), anywhere really and then decided to put them all together. 

At first a printed copy of the list, carefully updated each week, lived on the fridge.  I drove Emilio crazy (it doesn't live on the fridge anymore), but I got stuff done!  And it was fun. Thinking of things and coming up with new ideas was just as much fun as doing things off the list.  It was of course after several glasses of red wine with friends that I came up with the "Give the car a Sponge Boob Car Wash".  It came after commenting that the Kitten Car Wash was open again.  Now without going into too much detail, the idea was to have strategically placed sponges (OK, there would need to be a lot of them) strapped to my body, lathering up and washing the car.  Sounds kinky I know, but we didn't go ahead with it.  Which was probably a good thing because our elderly neighbour Arthur would often pop his head over the fence to say hello and I wouldn't have wanted to be responsible for any heart attacks.  This is now off the list.  The Kitten Car Wash business is safe.  Julia's Sponge Boob Car Wash never got off the ground.
Anyway, farewelled my forties in fine form, survived turning 50 in India and got through 2015 relatively unscathed.  2016, new year, new list.  Turning 51 was actually much easier (in the much less exotic town of Bendigo). 

The age pressure if now off - at least until the BIG 6-0 approaches and then who knows what will happen.

In the meantime, live for today and have fun.