Monday, May 16, 2011

Life of a Dog

Yes, yes, I know, it has been quite some time since I graced these pages. But that's basically because I've decided to only write when I get the 'urge'... which pretty much means I have to have something spiralling around in my brain writing itself until I can't stand the waterfall of words anymore. Which is where you lot come in.

Where was I? Oh yes. The Puppy. We have a Jack Russell Puppy called Wilson. And yes, before you ask, he was named after the brand of volleyball from Castaway. Why? Because as Tom Hanks stood there, yelling for the ball to come back to him after he'd thrown it away in frustration, we realised that it was ideally suited to a dog. 'Wilsonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!' we giggled at the time. 'How quaint' we mused.

A dog that would no doubt get yelled at in puppy stages.

A dog that would probably take off with special toys of the children, run around the yard manically, all the while two small children crying out in terror for their toys while their bemused parents try not to laugh.

A dog that would crawl under the bed, barking madly as we tried not to wake the sleeping giant above, all the while brooms and assorted dog extracting paraphernalia utilised with little success.

And finally a dog that would apparently develop quicker than other dogs his age and proceed to hump everything in sight. 

Including our other dog. 

And the cat. 

Which brings me to my Dad's dog, Jabba, who has just left this mortal coil at the age of 17 - not bad for a red heeler. Jabba had a strange attraction to soft toys, cushions and saddle blankets. Yes, correct, Jabba could regularly be found in compromising positions with any number of teddy bears or satin sheened cushion covers. We rest assured he's up there in doggy heaven now, happily humping away for eternity, that big lolling smile letting us all know how happy he will forever be.

So, um, question: have you ever found yourself frowning at your dog as you wonder what he's doing then too late realise that what he's doing isn't really what you want the children to see him doing?  And not only is he doing it freely and with no shyness whatsoever, he's also got your other dog in his grip but unfortunately upside down... yes, poor Maisy was being unceremoniously graced with the rampaging hormones of a pubescent teen puppy who had no idea which end was which.

But once again, it gets worse. As I was sitting here just now, I saw a whisker of movement out of the corner of my eye. Lo and behold, the pumpee had become the pumper! It pains me to say this but my poor innocent little spayed female dog was BOLDLY HUMPING THE SKULL OF THE HUMPER! 

Okay, so now I'm the confused one. The dogs obviously have no qualms whatsoever with acting out their fantasies, however perverse to the human eye.  But should I put it down to her getting her own back for his unceremonious attempt to mate with her left ear or do I laugh it off and say 'dogs will be dogs'... I don't know. *wrings hands* 

But one thing I do know is that if I come home and find our 11 year old spayed male cat in on the act, it is the pound for the lot of them!! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wax on... Wax Off!

Okay, apologies people. I've been slack but honestly, I've not had a thing to write about. Until today.

My mother, who is about to go overseas on the Queen Mary II to the Far East (her words, not mine) was doubled over in hysterics by the time she'd finished telling me this story. She was clutching so hard at the sides of her red brick Ben Chifley style house that I thought she was going to remove mortar, the tears poured down her face and I had trouble deciphering her words through her screams of laughter.

In short, this is a story about waxing. Waxing is a lot more popular these days, with the deforestation otherwise known as the 'Brazilian' taking over youth, middle classes and those who don't mind looking like a prepubescent child.

But how old is too old to wax? Well, apparently 83 is always a good age. Yes, you read correctly. Turns out mum knows an 83 year old woman who has, at Christmas every year, popped down and had a hedge trim! Not that I'm expecting Peter Cundal to jump out from behind an Azalea and ask her if she wants Seasol with that, but you know what I mean, down she goes, whips off the Reg Grundies and asks for a little off the sides.  Good on her!

Personally, if it were me I'd be asking for some tinsel, lights and a sprig of holly just in case because you just never know...   But, I digress for our story doesn't end here. Ooooh no. This is the part where I say 'Gentlemen, hold your chestnuts'.  

So after a while Mum drew a breath and squeaked out that whilst this conversation was taking place at her women's sewing group (you're horrified, how do you think I feel?!), another woman piped up with an episode in life her husband would rather forget.

You see, apparently the said husband had continually told his wife that waxing couldn't possibly hurt and he didn't know why she complained. So she offered to wax him and he said 'Okay...'. Bad move. Very very bad move.   

Because not only did she apply wax, she applied it to his testicles... and then quickly ripped the strip off, removing not only follicles but part of his scrotum.  

He promptly passed out and quite frankly,  I couldn't understand a word Mum said after that so I can't tell you anymore. Last time I saw Mum, she was still doubled over with laughter, still clutching the side of the house and I don't think she'd finished packing for the 'Far East' yet... 

Motto of the story:  Girls,  you're never too old to wax and guys, you're never too stupid to try it. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Confessions of a Lapsed Philatelist

This pains me to share but I once collected stamps. Not just any run-of-the-mill common Australian stamps but English stamps.

My UK relatives somehow thought a beach and surf obsessed 15 year old girl would rather spend her time using a set of tweezers to delicately admire mint condition stamps that spanned subjects ranging from dandelions and cow breeds to Houses of Devon. They were wrong. But I must say I did and still do appreciate their placement of each stamp set into individually made little envelopes lovingly stapled together with names, date and boredom factor printed neatly on the front...

Which leads me to my deepest darkest secret of all (gulps):

I have Prince Charles & Princess Diana Commemorative Wedding Stamps.

I hear your gasps of shock, the horror, the embarrassment of knowing that I once subscribed to such nerdy pursuits!  Oh would I that I could change such repugnant deeds! Will the excuse of 'My mother made me do it' suffice? Yes? No?!

Alas, I fear my darkest past rears its gummy portrait at the announcement of Prince William and Ms Kate Middleton's engagement.  It isn't like we weren't expecting it, it isn't as if we didn't know that a Commemorative Stamp Issue was on the cards; I just simply hadn't conceived what it would do to me personally.

But now I have a massive dilemma that I hope you can help me solve: am I obliged to collect the stamps for this event too, considering the precedent exists albeit stuffed in a dark place?  Do I need a matched pair? A timeline of history contained in one little blue stamp book? Or do I merely scoff and then secretly wish I had when it turns out they'd be worth a lot more as a set??

You have to understand, this is quite obviously hand wringing stuff. The Australian political landscape has taken a back seat,  the children are neglected and the dog looks at me with a mournful 'Goodo's now please?' expression. I'm not answering the phone, collecting the mail and talks with other mums at the bus stop have become meaningless. Worst of all? The Australian House of Representative televised Question Time has become ...banal.

In short, this Royal Wedding has caused hitherto unexpected angst and I'm stuck between a stamp and a hard place. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

Today in Australia and in Commonwealth countries around the world, we celebrate the contribution of our soldiers that have died for their nation. It is a time to reflect, respect and never forget that the society and freedoms we enjoy today have been built upon the sacrifices of others.

At 11am AEST, a minute's silence was observed to mark this occasion. This is a tradition that commenced with the end of WWI and will be echoed throughout each Commonwealth nation as their days tick over to the 11th November.

Perhaps this opportunity for reflection has made me a little sentimental but I would like to share an amazing video I found about the Everest Region in Nepal.

Naturally I found it whilst studying... Is it relevant to my units of study I hear you ask? Absolutely not - don't be ridiculous!  But it is particularly poignant as it serves as a tangible reminder of my trek to Mt Everest 12 years ago. It really
 isn't about me at all but the beauty of the Himalayas and the people that dwell within her harsh but stunning environment.  My own personal acknowledgement, if you will, of a place that changed me forever.

A lesson for us all on this day is to hold dear to that which defines you, discard that which does not and celebrate those whose contributions enable you to enjoy the life you lead.

If you would like to find out more about Remembrance Day, please see the following link:

Lest We Forget

Monday, November 8, 2010

Epiphanies in the Key of E

AKA Smacked in the Head by the Fist of Reality (no violence intended)

Epiphany. I just love saying the word.  It feels like it should be whispered over and over like the first drops of rain on a tin roof... 
e-pip-hany e-pip-hany ... until it gets louder and faster, bursting into a sun shower of reality. Well, hopefully.

Last time I had an epiphany was along the Khumbu Trail enroute to Mt Everest. A little place called Lobuche actually, 4930m above sea level.  Suffering from a combination of altitude sickness and the sort of sleep apnoea that does away with stupid Western trekkers, my hacking cough rendered me momentarily doubled over in agony. 

Khumbu Trail approaching Lobuche (Mt Everest in background)

Which is when I saw 'it'. A massive piece of amber, glinting in the bright sunlight reflecting off the Khumbu moraine I was currently almost prone upon. The leaves of some long ago plant or tree were still visible, forever cocooned in this soft warm ancient sap.

At a time when breathing was my sole purpose in life, closely followed by one step in front of the other, trying to keep my SLR from freezing and avoiding the annoying American (sorry) called Hank, the last thing my oxygen starved brain needed was further complication in the form of an epiphany.

So here's my amber moment:

The Earth will always be an enigma, we will never understand everything about it. 
Your life is nothing in relation to Earth's time span.
You live, you will die as all before you but the Earth will continue.

Now, I suppose it all seems rather obvious and maybe the lightheadedness of oxygen starvation created some sort of mini stroke BUT I still remember this moment clearly. If I may liken it to the molt of a cicada's shell (thanks @lapuntadelfin) it was a mini rebirth as such.  From that moment on I have looked with new eyes at many things and in fact came home and moved away from the city, so fake and grossly opulent with wastage.  

Yet 12 years later, I find myself having another epiphany, albeit a rather basic one. 

I really hate the cold.
(Small Issue: currently residing 960m above sea level/chilly most days)

This is where I live

So here I am in a place I should not be, but this time around it isn't as easy as upping sticks. A child of the sea, the closest I get these days is a once a year holiday to Northern Rivers region or a beach somewhere in Queensland.  This results in silent crying for most of the 1200km car journey home again... tad self indulgent? You bet! *winks But there's nothing like leaving the pristine blue skies of your youth to return to the omnipresent grey of your current abode and saying 'how did I end up here?'. 

Epiphanies: we all have them but when was the last time you acted on yours? Undertaking my personal revelations straightaway may not always be an option but having my own spiritual 'To Do List' means some things get dealt with sooner than even I anticipate.

But for now, it has just started raining again so I think I'll go and let the rain speak to me awhile. 

All photography Copyright by Lis Petersen unless otherwise stated

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Tweet is a Tweet is a Tweet

Twitter is my dirty little secret. 

My family think I'm mad as do my friends, they ask 'What's the attraction?' "What do you talk about?"...well, in short, stuff.   Like politics, family (non specific), politics, politicians, nice people, awful people, we share more stuff like youtube videos, politics, videos about terrible politicians, we make puns, we converse and we simply 'be'. 

Naturally, there's those online who are rude, objectionable, putrid and even down right insulting but that's where my tweep cohort kick in and kick arse.  Have we got each other's back?? Damn right we have, even if we're many kilometres apart and probably destined to never meet.

So in honour of those who make me smile, my Lord Byron-esque moment hopefully brings forth that which I feel, hear or see on this most instantaneous of social media, albeit far longer than 140 characters.

On Twitter Friends

'Tis rare to find such minds met that perhaps in life might stay afar
To be of such a distance still yet graceful presence does not marr
When day is nigh and all the time the sun doth scud like clouds above
To come the night and still then find a mutual humour, of politics, a love
'tis then we truly savour the faithful few, the giants our friends whose wit verbose
None shall block but shall defend, lest tweets sink low become morose
Envious those who seek their kind yet still do wander aimless and lost
We stand aside and let them through, to seek their kind, whilst we sated, emboss.

Lis Petersen 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Later At the Wake...

I like wakes. They're the best opportunity to hear at least 10 people say 'We should catch up when there's not a funeral/wedding' and then you never hear of them until the next one in two years time. Such delicious predictability!  Odds on that the following will occur:

1. Someone will get drunk
2. Someone will annoy the deceased's partner, normally this is the role of a parent-in-law.
3. Everyone will know everyone.. except for you, you will stick out like a sore thumb.
4. The catering army (aka CWA or similar) will provide far too much food.
5. Any children at the wake will disappear for the duration of the wake, only for you to find out later your offspring has been doing things you wish they hadn't...

Which leads me to the observation that it doesn't hurt an 8 year old boy to cop a flogging from an 8 year old girl.  Yes, you read it here first.  My son was beaten up by a girl and he lost - badly. In fact, he is now sporting a bruise on his jaw. 

But before you go jumping to any conclusions, let me set the scene.  Adults on one side and in the hall, children hiding around the back.  Little did we realise though that hiding around the back included daring each other to jump off the chimney,  higher and higher each time, until the roof became a blur in the distance.  Luckily, they all survived this recreational activity.

So the next 'dare' apparently was to fight each other.  This involved a genetically advantaged 11 year old who weighed 90kgs taking on a genetically disadvantaged 12 year old who didn't.  This information was relayed in great detail to us on the way home by an excited 6 year old whilst the 8 year old nursed his bruised ego. But I digress.

After the obvious concussion suffered by the 12 year old, it was my son's turn. The taunting escalated (apparently), the local kids pushed out their best fighter... and it was the daughter of our deceased friend. Now, logic tells me, you and the rest of the world that if your dad has just been buried a little bit of anger may be entirely understandable.  What was not understandable was the apparent expertise of the said 8 year old at MMA style attacks that would have neutered an adult male. 

And this is where we, the parents entered, stage right.  Rounding the corner in the vehicle as we searched for our errant spawn, we were met by the sight of a leg up at head height, fists about to make contact.. and our son cowering whilst simultaneously flailing his arms like a windmill, no style whatsoever. 

I couldn't help it, I laughed. The utter ridiculousness of the scenario hit me about two minutes later as I sat there, tears pouring down my cheeks, children scarpering rapidly out of sight and a rather contrite albeit embarrassed 8 year old walked towards the car. 

The conversation that followed went roughly like this... 

'What on earth were you doing hitting a girl - that is wrong, you know it is wrong and totally unacceptable'.
'I know Mum but...'
'I can't believe you were fighting that poor girl, she's just buried her father and you're trying to punch her?;
I know Dad but....'
'I'm very disappointed in you - you've been brought up to respect girls and women!'

Silence followed by a slow deep sobbing.
'But mum, she hit me first and she punched me in the jaw and it really really hurts'.

Conundrum. There's nothing in the parenting books about what to do when your gentle little son is picked on by a shorter, angrier female. It was at this stage I realised that it really does pay to let some things through to the keeper, so without further ado, both children jumped in the car and that was the end of the berating.

But not quite... about 50kms down the road, the 8 year old was whining, carrying on... normal tired child. It was at this point his father turned around and said very quietly, 'If you don't stop whinging, I'll take you back there and she can finish the job'.   

Deathly silence.

Sometimes you have to let children be children. It didn't hurt us growing up and I'd rather a child who could stand his ground in the face of adversity than one who runs from a challenge. 

Now, I'm off to book him into some karate lessons ... if only to protect him from girls!