Just another day in the garden of remembering times present

Did Dad put down rat poison in the garden yesterday and leave the gate open so Max could eat it, or didn’t he?  That is the question.

I went for our usual walk yesterday morning with Max, up to Rock Street his new favourite route.  We arrived back happily enough and I gave him a shaker of milk made from milk powder, shaken and poured into his scraps bowl.  So far, so good….

Out of the blue Dad comes into the house and says he thinks he scattered some poison pellets in the garden and forgot to close the gate.  Suddenly they are gone!  Only Max could have taken them.  Mice are not active during the day and it usually takes a week for the pellets to disappear.

Mum looked miserable. She wants a Sillky Terrier like Truffles again.  Dad was in panic mode.  I was adamant.  We have to take him to the Vet.  Crisis talks intervened and off we went in the car with Max in the back seat.

The vets were lovely, and gave Max some drops to make him bring up his food.  By the time we had discovered the supposed incident, he had already had his lunch.   Any pellets would have left his stomach long ago.

Still, after seemingly ages, Max had not changed, nor had he shown us his stomach contents.  We had walked up and down the nature strip outside the vet’s and waited for a long time, to no avail.

He had three sets of medicines, but nothing happened except he quieted down a lot. Great! It was time for the explanation of terrible things that happen to animals who eat poison pellets.  The cure takes four weeks.

We checked Max out of the vet’s and I went next door to the chemist for activated charcoal.  Apparently dogs and children are treated much the same way for this and the charcoal helps to absorb anything poisonous.

Vitamin K was mentioned, and a blood test that can indicate how the treatment is going.  It was all part of the four week long treatment plan.

Back at home Mum rang another vet where we had once taken another of our dogs a few years ago.  They had some of the Vitamin K to hand and could give Max an injection.  That was a relief.  We bundled him up and he had a shot from that vet.  We were also given some tablets to continue with th vitamin K after the charcoal had taken effect.

At home, we gave him six charcoal tables every forty minutes with some meaty jelly that we had in the fridge from a couple of nights ago.

It was such a dramatic day.  Max started feeling better after a couple of hours and was his usual cheerful self.  Mum and Dad were going over everything that had happened that morning and decided that Dad might not have set the poison pellets, after all.  He thought that he had seen pigeons by the shed and gone off to shoo them away, leaving the box of pellets on a tall shelf in the garden.

I was tired out from arguing with them.  They thought the first vet had fixed Max and did not understand the concept of a four week treatment plan for an animal.  I went to bed.  We had given Max 52 of the 60 activated charcoal tablets.

The next morning Mum was happy to tell me that there was no way that Dad could have scattered the pellets.  He had chased the pigeons and left the box on a shelf.  Max would be fine.  Mmmmm…..

He rang the second vet to ask if we could return the unopened pack of vitamin K tablets.  The vet agreed to accept them back.

In the meantime, I will keep an eye on Max to see whether he is OK.  At present, he just looks tired out after all the fuss, like me.


Seven hours ahead of Helsinki

My time zone is 7 hours ahead of Vantaa, where the girls are officiating in WWC2013.  That means that a 4pm game is shown on the internet at 11pm our time, and an 8pm game is at 3am.  At least the updated on social media are coming in thick and fast, so there are lots of photographs and other types of news.

I could tell that the officiating crews were focussed, as I slept really well last night and only woke before the 3am game in time to decide whether to wake up the household or not.  I think I have more chances of watching the next game day, although I should have tested it last night, to be sure.

On Wednesday this week, I hope to meet my supervisors about my thesis progress, as I need to sort out where I stand for next Semester.  They probably want me to keep the PhD enrolment as an option, with part-time study for Semester 2 of this year.  In any case, I am completing my counselling course part-time, so it’s not as if I will be short of things to do.

This morning I discovered that Helsinki is a bit like Toronto, I think it is, with part of the city underground, especially heating plants.  Although Helsinki looks very open to the wind and snow in Winter, having swimming pools and bicycle paths underground adds a whole new dimension.

Oh, well, I suppose I had better return to my coding exercise while working out how to explain the huge impact of the results on my thesis!


Sunday breakfast is scones with jam and cream

At our place, Sunday breakfast is often made fresh.  We have coffee and scones with jam and cream.  The jam is japoticaba from the tree in our garden.  I love the japoticaba tree because the fruit attaches at the trunk and branches.  It is very unusual.

This morning was no exception.  We were very happily tucking in to scones and coffee earlier on.  It took a long time to perfect the recipe, but now it is just brilliant.

We listen to “Macca on a Sunday Morning” on the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) channel.  He is usually talking with people on the telephone about the weather and local lobby groups.  It is interesting to hear about what is going on around the country.  Sometimes people call just for the sake of being heard by their friends, I am sure.  Maybe I should try that too, and see if anyone I know actually listens to it.

Dad was out earlier, taking Max for a walk.  I have not been out with Max all week, as I am up writing my thesis as early as I can without disturbing the household.  Half-way through a scone, he mentioned that someone had left a pair of sandshoes by the park rubbish bin.  People have left crutches there in the past, so I was not surprised.  Actually, Dad picked them up and brought them home.  They are about the right size for Mum.  I’m not sure if she would wear black shoes with lime green soles, but why not?  She certainly loves to recycle and often says that her knee replacement makes her leg feel very heavy.  This might be the hint that she needs to walk two blocks down to the park and back each day.

That was a surprise!  Going out for a walk and coming back with shoes!  As we live opposite a school oval, it is not unusual for people to leave behind things that they don’t really like.  Sometimes we take school hats to the upper oval so that they can be found in the lunch hour.  The park is used by boy scouts, as they have a hall at the back of it, even though the park is quite small.

It turned out to be quite an eventful breakfast, after all.  As if japoticaba jam wasn’t enough of a thrill!





10 Cabbages

My brother and nephew came to visit on Friday when I was out.  They brought Mum’s birthday present – 10 large cabbages!  She was amazed!  Although she likes vegetables, she is not so keen that she wants them every birthday.

However, she loves making her own sauerkraut, so I suppose she will be happy when all the work is done.  For now, it is just a lot of cutting and salting down and lots of fragrant cabbage odours while they ferment into sauerkraut.

She was flabbergasted at the time, but is now in the kitchen busy processing cabbages.  It is so odd.  We have a washing basket next to the kitchen full of big, round cabbages.  She has a shredding tool in the kitchen and is using it as I write.

I’m guessing this is the last time she will be receiving cabbages for her birthday.  She always says she does not want anything and that she has everything that she needs.  My brother is so good at noticing where there is a space for making her life more complete.

I just wonder what he has in store for my birthday.  I can hardly wait!


Volunteering under way

Currently I am investigating volunteering opportunities with organisations for which I would like to work.  Surprisingly, not many responded to my e-mail requests, except one in which I am already involved.

Along the way, I found another organisation which runs conventions, so I am now volunteer in a local education and technology conference coming up early in June.  It is actually quite exciting, as I will meet a new industry of people, since it is normally fitness industry volunteering.

My positive response came from the national body of a group where I take part at the local level.  The good thing about them is that the executive committee people respond within 24 hours when I have an enquiry.  It is very impressive.

Yesterday, when I was up two hours earlier than usual, I received an e-mail which had me on the short list for being sent to Finland at the end of June.  I was in awe of these people.  They are the international group and I am volunteering for the national group.  It makes sense to offer something when I really do receive so much positive reinforcement and space to grow in return.

In the long run, this fits with my aim to complete a PhD.  It will be an exercise in writing my job description.  So I may as well start working with the industries which have previously been my escape from the world of paid employment.

Ultimately, I will hope to blend the two – the jobs I can do with wages and the ones I also do to stay on a more even keel, even if I am just paid petrol and lunch money.  This will be the theme for the next three to four years, so I may as well start doing something about it.

At least the family dog will be happy.  Being able to organise my day usually starts with our morning run, lots of doggy pep talk from the dog, wagging tails, happy bounds, dragging me up hills and down dales and of course having doggy time for him to roll in the dewy grass.  Oh, what bliss!!!!


Search for the counter narrative

As usual, I am up early, about half an hour before dawn, making coffee and catching up on the news.  This time, it is not fb and e-mail, but the American news.  It’s all about Boston.

We sat enthralled yesterday as the drama unfolded and Boston was in lock-down.  The evening news had the updates.  In the morning, our time, early evening in Boston, the analysis was well underway.

It was the strangest thing.  In between going out for a jog with Max and my normal routine, all of a sudden my little world was part of the bigger picture.  Jogging, watching inspiring Nike videos online, watching the Junior Nationals Gridiron Championship online, catching up on assignments… it’s all part of my information net that suddenly grew very large.

It seems the bombing was part of an initiation rite for a Caucasian-related group.  The separate bombs were the signatures of two separate would-be initiates.  The cost of study without scholarship and family support led them to want athletic scholarships in wrestling…. The prestige of Harvard beckoned.  Being an unrecognised minority did not help if there was an FBI record of past activities.

Is my thesis really on international students?  Am I really studying career counselling? Do I really go to my Certificate IV in Mental Health classes on Fridays?  How can this be?  There seems to be an “altro polo”.  The academic as against the chaotic and watching a movie last night with Dan Akroyd in “Ghost Busters” seemed all so relevant.  Even the 1980s hair on Sigourney Weaver seemed somehow appropriate.

Too much connection for one day….


Cyclone Oswald is Visiting Us


We have closed the windows on the north side of the house, as the gusts of wind are quite strong and are blowing the water in through the windows.  The goldfish are in peril of floating out of the pond due to the deluge of rain which is much-needed and arriving all in a rush.

Reports in the paper are that the beaches are taking a pounding from the sea, unusual for a place which hardly ever experiences waves above 10 cm.  Our banana trees are waving frantically in the wind and our chickens have retreated to their roosts, out of the direct rain in their chicken coop.

We had news this morning that my Dad’s youngest brother died in England during the early evening of Saturday 26th January.  He had been in hospital a couple of months ago and went home to recuperate, but his condition worsenend.  Fortunately for me, I saw him in England in 2010 when I was allowed to visit the family on my way back from Sweden.  At the time, he seemed well and did not mention any major health conditions apart from those that often occur at his time of life.

Last night I was thinking of sitting at Aunty Olive’s kitchen table talking to my Uncle just like it was yesterday.  I feel so grateful that I was able to catch up with him a few times while I was there, and just chat about ordinary things.  His Uncle Alf, my Great-Uncle, is ninety-one and only recently stopped driving his car.  My Uncle was the youngest of ten children, including my father.

Yet, the family will gather round and we are all keeping in touch to celebrate his life and think kindly of him.  Dad remembers how he looked just when he was born in a tiny house where ten children were born and raised.  I remember how he looks just like a younger version of my Dad, except with curlier hair.