Monday, August 29, 2005

Honey, I Ebayed the Pug!

No no, not really! But I'm getting close.... I have become an ebay addict. Selling and buying. I'm having such fun selling up all the old stuff around here. And even more fun buying red china - the Villeroy and Boch Granada china we have.

But let's back up. Being an acquisitive pack rat, I've bought a lot of stuff over the years. Living in a small house means there really isn't room for it all. Some of it I've outgrown (sometimes literally) and sometimes I've just moved on.

It started with a small music cabinet. It sold to someone with a music store in Kalgoorlie, it was trucked across the Nullarbor.

Then I had a couple of aboriginal bark paintings, which were fine in my office. But when I left that job I had nowhere for them. They certainly didn't belong in a Federation house. Off one went to Melbourne.

Then my daughter mentioned that clothes were a big seller on ebay. Aha, my chance to get rid of that 80's denim jacket with all the silver glitter on it. What was I thinking when I bought it? It went to Adelaide, to someone who LOVES it.

We bought a new LDC computer monitor. The old one went, for $5. Better than nothing, and it is out of the house. A new TV, ebay with the old. The new Palm Zire 71 - ebay with the old Palm Vx. Then a big wooden filing cabinet. Now that we have a built-in desk in the back bedroom it was surplus to requirements. Ebayed.

Now I'm having to dig deeper into the archive. The latest thing to go was the fur coat I bought in 1970. Here I am wearing it in 1971 in England. Alas, living in sunny warm Sydney gave me little opportunity to wear it, and I'm afraid I rather grew out of it. I am no longer 22 and quite that size. "I'll be that thin again if only I try" I think. For too many years I've been thinking that. I answered all the questions about its condition and took closeups of it and discussed postage. Finally, it sold for about what I paid for it all those years ago. Diane, in Wisconsin, will be receiving it soon. As I posted it today, wrapped in tissue paper in a big box, I must admit to being a little weepy seeing it go. I hope Diane will love it.

Now, what's next..... Looking looking around the house. I wonder what I'd get for an 18 year old cat? Portia, come here and let me take a nice photo of you.....

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Once upon a time, when Jonty the Pug was a lad, he had a bit of a stoush with a Border Collie. We were waiting for the pedestrian lights to change, we on one side of the road with Jonty, and the Border Collie on the other side. Waiting, waiting. Their eyes locked...... the lights changed. We proceeded towards each other. Jonty was on his lead, the Border Collie free. They attacked each other in the middle of King Street, and it was a nasty occasion.

From this one episode in his youth, Jonty has generalised to ALL Border Collies, or really any dog of the same size with black and white colouring. He can spot them a mile off, on the other side of the street, the other side of the park. There is always an instantaneous reaction - he stiffens, hackles rise, he growls. And you know what? They don't even have to be real dogs. All this business about dogs recognising each other through smell has whiskers on it. This is purely visual. We know this to be true.

Just up the road next to Martin the Hairdresser is a gay glitzy costumier, Hello Gorgeous. In the window of this shop, at ground level, sat a stuffed Border Collie. Whenever we walk past, Jonty barrels at the window, barking maniacally, hackles raised. He goes berserk, and passers by think it hilarious. We do too. So did the proprietor, who one day tucked the dog under her arm and introduced us - the dog's name is Rachel. Jonty went ballistic.

One day, we noticed that Hello Gorgeous was closing down. We couldn't let Rachel get away from us, we've had too much fun with her. So I went in and made a successful offer on Rachel. I smuggled her home in a big black bag, hiding her from Jonty. We planned a surprise event for Jonty this weekend. As I was describing our plan to our neighbour, Debbie, she said "Kate - are you playing a practical joke on your DOG?!?" I confessed, we were.
Is that pathetic?

We were out walking with him at the 4 pm walk, and I slunk home before them. I set up Jonty's dinner bowl, with Rachel sitting at it. This was the view that greeted Jonty when he raced in looking for his eats.

We had our cameras ready, and Jonty did the entirely predictable. He went completely berserk. I even used my mobile phone videocam to take some videos with sound, and he performed a treat. What you are missing here is the growling and the barking and general carryon. We laughed and laughed, but eventually took Rachel away so he could eat his dinner in peace. We shall produce her occasionally and get him used to the idea of having a little friend.... or just to tease him some more.

Isn't it sad when you are reduced to playing tricks on your Pug!

Monday, August 22, 2005


You learn something every day. I just learned that comments on my blog were restricted to registered users. They are no longer - anyone can add a comment if they want to. Over to my readers.....

Drama on the street

I'd been out for my lunchtime power walk, and was almost home when I heard a racket in one of the paperbark trees in our nearest cross street. There was a flying fox hanging high in the tree, with a couple of currawongs giving it a hard time. Was it caught there? Was it able to get away? As I rounded the corner to our street, I saw Alex and a mate, rootling around in Alex's garage. I asked if they'd seen the flying fox. No, they hadn't, so they came up to have a look. Alex said he thought the flying fox was caught by a string around one of its legs. After all, the currawongs are nesting and they often take bits of string as building materials. We couldn't see it though. So I decided to call WIRES - the wildlife rescue service. They asked whether it was a ladder job. Oh yes, I said, it was quite high in the tree. The volunteer on the phone said she'd send someone with experience in rescuing flying foxes. I thought I had done my duty, and continued to work.

On the 4pm Pug Walk (yes, there is a 4pm walk and a 6pm walk, in addition to the morning walk..) we saw quite a commotion in the street. A huge fire truck, fully fitted out with firemen, blocking the narrow road. A string of cars behind the fire truck. An audience of agog pre-schoolers up against the fence of the kindy, taking in every minute of the rescue. I approached the leading fireman, who told me they almost had it, but that at the last minute it had made a getaway. No string around its leg? "No," said the fireman, "it had legs enough to get away from me." As the fire engine packed up and took off, it gave a quick blast of the siren to excite the kids. It did. They chanted happily "Fi-ya men, fi-ya men" as the fire truck departed. It must have made their day.

Was I right to call WIRES? Was the flying fox invading the territory of the currawongs? Was it making a new home and standing its ground .. er... hanging its perch? Was it a good use of the fire department's time and resources? Oh, life in the big city. Soulless, sterile, dull. NOT!

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Kiss

The 6 pm walk often takes us past the day care centre when the place is busy with parents picking up their children. They often react to Jonty. There are cries of "Puppy, puppy!" even though Jonty is a greybeard. Some of the children are anxious about him although he pays them no attention. We passed one such little girl, about three or four years old, the other night. Jonty was right next to her as she waited for her mother to organise her into the car. She did some leg clinging, but was obviously interested in Jonty. He is pretty good with littlies, so I encouraged her to touch him. She was very brave, and touched him on his back. He noticed her, and came closer to sniff her a bit. Ooooh, more leg clinging, but she was emboldened to pat him on the head, and feel his very silky ears. Just as we were to go our separate ways, she leaned over and gave him a kiss on the top of his head. We all felt very blessed.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Watch out for flying toys!

We live in a flying toy zone! Behind us is a day care centre, and one neighbour is a keen cricketer. This means that it is sometimes a hard-hat area in our back yard.

We think that one of the day-care denizens must be practicing for the Olympics. We call him (note the sexism) Chucker. Toys come flying over, raining down on us. Bricks, blocks, balls. Thomas the Tank Engine plastic toys. Buckets and spades. Lego and plastic bowls. We hope they don't land on Portia, who likes to sun herself in the garden and doesn't move very fast. One day our cleaner, Gladys, came rushing through the house...."Kate Kate, Chucker has outdone himself!'' Sure enough, there were seven toys that had come over in a very short time. We usually wait until all is quiet over there, then assume our identity as the Secret Chucker in reverse.

Geordie, the keen cricketer, is fond of batting tennis balls over. We often hear the thud as they land on the roof, or in the garden. He and his mates come to the door, and we search for the balls. Sometimes we find three or four, and chuck them over his way. They can land in the gutters, or in the side lane, or anywhere in the garden. Their garden also backs onto the day care centre, and they too experience the overflow. They have confessed that sometimes they keep the good balls.

Today as I was walking Jonty on his 4 pm walk around the front of the day care centre, a tennis ball came flying over - I didn't see where it came from. With an audience of small boys, I reached into the drain and retrieved the ball. Over to the boys. "Is this yours?" I asked, handing it to one of them. His eyes lit up as he took the ball, and said "No, it isn't." Well, it WAS his by now. One of the other boys said it had come flying over the house.

Was the ball Geordie's? Is it justice that sometimes the balls go flying in the other direction? Does it all even out in the long run?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Adding a hit counter

This blog is going to be so darned popular I need to know how many visitors I get! So I've done the techie thing and put a hit counter here. Now I'll know how alone I am in the universe.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Big Fat Plugs

What's that you read? Aren't I supposed to be talking about Fat PUGS?!?!? No, it is no misprint. This time it is PLUGS. You see them in the picture. Don't they drive you berserk? Yesterday we had a bit of a spend-up. Bought a new thin screen TV because the old one was taking up too much room. And we bought two new mice - the computer kind. Whizz bang bluetooth wireless mice, one for home, one for the office.

WIRELESS HA! This wireless mouse takes up not only one of my too few remaining USB slots, it has to have its own power source. Why is it that every piece of computer equipment has to have its own power source? The speakers. The modem. The camera cradle. The Palm cradle. The USB hub. And so it goes.

There are eight accessible powerpoints in this room, but still I need the three powerboards you see pictured, plus one more. I have six-point boards, and four-point boards, but I can't use every point on the board because every piece of equipment has this huge FAT PLUG that takes up more than its fair share of the space on the board. The worst offenders are the ones that insist on going sideways, claiming a specific spot on the board so they can face right or left. What is going on inside those great fat plugs? Why are they so greedy? Another question might be - why are the power boards SO THIN? I'm not the only one, surely, to have a spaghetti of cables and a passel of plugs lurking under the desk. Why don't power board makers make their boards big enough for these great slug-plugs? Nice wide slots so you can actually (oops - did I actually type 'actually?) use all the points. I think I'll write off to the board makers now.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

My next project

I said I was going to make a doll's dress, and here I go. But didn't I say a while ago that my daughter STILL has my sewing machine? Yes, she still has it. So I have decided to go the whole hog and create this dress entirely by hand. All the seams, everything. This is the start of it. The sleeves have gone in, the underarms need to be sewn up.

Truly, the seam sewing (double running stitch) doesn't take all that long to do. Then I will embellish it with some of the tatting I have. All those little strips with nowhere to go, each one will find its place. Such a lot of frou frou.

And when I am not tatting or sewing or patting the Pug (or even working!!) I have been wrestling with the Sudoku puzzles. As you can see, I completed one! This one was a moderate, and apart from a kid's one, this is the first I have ever done. Just what I need - another way to waste time concentrating on something totally useless.