'If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.' Marjorie Garber

Thursday, 28 October 2010

And Now For Something Purrfectly Different!

I had planned to empty the overflowing wash basket this morning, but I had a bit of shock when I tried to use the washing machine. It seems our little Mowgli has a much better use for it!
Watch out! I know how to pounce!

Thank you for your kind words over the past few weeks. I hope that you are all happy, healthy and looking forward to Christmas!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


We live in a very public world in 2010. Twenty-four hour news coverage ensures we share in the highs and lows of humanity. The international high of last week has now been well documented. The Chilean Miners are etched into the consciousness of most of the western world.
But sometimes things happen. International lows. Out of the blue, terrible, tragic events unfold in front of our eyes that change the world and make us ask: "Why?"
Since my first Daughter was born eighteen years ago, through our television screens we have seen the mass graves of innocents massacred in Bosnia Herzegovina, Rwanda, and the Sudan. We asked: "Why?"
Media technology has developed at such a pace that we have watched in real time, civil unrest, famine and disease destroy thousands in African Countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia and Nigeria - the list seems almost endless. Constantly, we ask: "Why?"
When my Daughter was five years old,  the world grieved on mass following the death of Princess Diana, and watched on mass as the media circus went into mourning meltdown. Who can possibly forget the heartbreaking image of Diana's Brother, Earl Spencer, as he struggled to hold back the bitterness and tears when he delivered the Eulogy? He pointed a metaphorical finger at the papparazzi and together with him, we asked: "Why?"
The world has agonised over the aftermath of horrific natural events, news reel after news reel, all day, every day. When my Daughter was twelve, there was the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. We've viewed on our screens and on the internet the earthquake in Haiti, the floods in the USA, Pakistan and India. We asked and continue to ask: "Why?"

We watched the smouldering pyres of Foot and Mouth Disease disfigure the landscape of Britain, and rob so many of their livelihoods and lives. And we asked: "Why?"

We stood by and watched the rise and rise of political and religious extremism and suffered the unbearable consequences:
The Twin Towers. "Why?"
The London bombings, "Why?" The Bali bombings, "Why?" The thousands killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, "Why?"
Much speculation and spouting of facts goes on in public to answer "Why".
But all of these international events have personal private stories too. People directly affected and asking: "Why?" Do they ever get answers?
And on a personal level, just three months ago, when my beloved Misha died, I asked, no, more like pleaded: "Why?" I started this blog to try to help me understand why. Pouring out my emotions on the internet, opening my heart to the public domain to try to find answers or maybe just to feel and read collective sympathy. Spreading my grief? Why? I don't know why.

Those of you who have visited me here via my Sister's blog, http://www.abuncandance.blogspot.com, are aware that Denise, myself and the rest of the extended family, have had more than our fair share of tragedy and grief of late. Many times, as a family, over the past few years, we have asked a collective: "Why?"

Eighteen years ago, in June, in Brisbane, Australia, on the day my daughter was due, I took a boat trip to Tangalooma on Moreton Island with my Husband, my Mum and my Aunty Julia. I didn't go into labour, not even after a four wheel drive trip across sand dunes and jungle. Instead, I had a great day laughing and enjoying the sun with my dear companions. 

A week later, my first Daughter was born. My husband, my Mum and my Aunty Julia were there when I gave birth. It was, and still is, one of the happiest memories I have. If I could have shouted my joy through the internet then, I would have. And I would never have needed to ask: "Why?"
Last week, after battling since January with a brain tumour, the loveliest, most gentle and beautiful person you could ever wish to meet passed away peacefully, at home, my Aunty Julia. She was 56. I know the 'where', the 'when' and the 'how', but I don't think anyone can ever answer this one for me: "Why?"

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Sue Tries Very Hard

I've fallen behind in blogland. I had intended to publish a post at least once a week, but I'm afraid life has been pulling me away from the trusty old iMac that I  usually work on and filling my time with all sorts of other seemingly more pressing things.

So I have been playing catch-up today. I've been reading some of the excellent posts of fellow bloggers and I've been stirred into action.
In particular, over at sixty one A, Kirsty's tale, from 29 September, about her old stool, made me decide to dust off the following post I started writing the day before Kirsty published hers and share it with you. So here goes:

For several years, I have fancied trying my hand at upholstery and on a particularly gloomy day at the end of August, I took the plunge and enrolled online for a local course.

The blurb for the course said to take along 'your own manageable piece of furniture'. So I decided to take a dressing table stool that had been left behind by a previous owner at our last home. It was small, easily portable and a good starting point for my new skill.
The stool had really tacky brown velour upholstery  with buttons, but very pretty legs and, I thought, the potential to become a thing of beauty - or at least more attractive than its original 1970s appearance.  

The course is very local, just a short walk, so I carried my stool to the class and proudly walked in on the first morning. My pride soon became embarrassment when I looked around to see that I was surrounded by ladies brandishing beautiful antique armchairs in varying degrees of undress.  I felt like I had arrived at my new school, knowing nobody and wearing the wrong uniform.

The tutor, a lovely lady called Renee, was very kind and chose not to comment on the pitiful sight of my lowly stool, as we went through the formality of introductions. "You'll need foam and a staple remover" was the only comment she passed. I could tell by her eyes that my stool was a disappointment to her and I already had the picture in my mind of my end of term report with that all encompassing comment: "Sue tries very hard."

I could have just discreetly left the room then, made my excuses and legged it . But well, I am nothing if not brazen, so I decided to do the decent thing and open the floodgates for the anti-70's velour stool brigade, and started ripping the poor thing apart, literally.

And in less than fifteen minutes, my stool was in pieces - several pieces. Did they use wood in the construction of furniture during the Seventies? Judging by the composite parts of my stool, I guess not.

Update: This is Brenda's chair, the stool was set aside and this piece of 1940's history is in the process of being transformed. I'll tell you more about it in a future post.