Posted in Health Issues, Life and Family, My Cats

Sweet Power

A neighbour who is also an electrician came in today to talk about power sockets. He is the tallest man I’ve ever seen… Man Mountain. I don’t mean he is overweight, because he certainly isn’t. It’s amusing to see the cats’ reaction when he’s visiting! Their eyes get very big and round, their bellies drop to the floor, and they don’t want to be in the same house with him.

He’s a pleasant fellow, but my anxiety makes me feel trapped if people are standing between me and the door. That’s multiplied when it’s someone as tall as him, so I can laugh at the cats all I want… I’m really no better!

Perhaps the universe is playing a trick on us and sniggers up its sleeve when you think, “I don’t know why I get so nervous!” and all the time it’s just that you were a cat in a former life. Nobody could possibly know that except the universe itself.

My sister brought us odds and ends (milk and other groceries we asked for) and also turned up with a large apple pie. Said we could share it, and cut it herself in the kitchen (turning it into apple crumble in the process). She wasn’t staying long, and took off out the door again with her share.

I know she was looking at desserts anyway to tempt my mother’s appetite, but I think it’s cute when somebody can’t resist something — hard to explain. I have a couple of bags of my favourite sweets squirrelled away in my room but haven’t touched them… just feel happy knowing they are there in case of need. Chocolate peanuts and Bassett’s Mint Creams, in case you wondered!

I need a cleaning agent to whiten some grouting in the kitchen. Asked everybody I could think of (other than Man Mountain) what would work. My mother was trying to tell me, and I said unfortunately my battery had just gone phut and she’d need to write it down. We didn’t have a pen and pad to hand, so she traced letters on the kitchen worktop with her finger: the name of a shop in town. Should see if they have something suitable.

I was amazed I could read what she wrote when it was invisible writing!

A few days ago, I had a strange not-quite-headache. All my energy vanished in a puff of smoke and I couldn’t even get up the strength to sleep. I had a persistent cough that got worse and worse, and my mother pointed out that it started when somebody gave her daffodils. My lurgi did have that kind of vibe… could have been an early spring allergy.

Once I start coughing it takes absolute ages to go away, so I was dismayed… then remembered a friend dissolving a dessertspoonful of honey in a mug of boiled water. He said his mother gave him that whenever he had a cold. I tried it again for the first time in years, and it’s really comforting. My cough is nearly gone. The honey’s nearly gone too, sadly…

Posted in Health Issues

Just Had the ‘Grue’

Was annoyed when I came down with the cold… I knew it was going to interrupt everything, and so it did. Blog, business in town, Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, housework, organizing stuff… everything!

A friend and I agreed there needs to be a word for something that’s halfway between a cold and a flu, as you want to make it clear to the office you’re not well enough to leave the house, even if you were well enough to get out of bed. If you say “I have a cold,” they think maybe you could have come in anyway, but if you say “I have flu,” scorn is poured on you for overestimating what is wrong with you. You can’t win!

I was reading that you can have ‘flu-like symptoms’ caused by whatever flu virus is going around, though it isn’t flu you’ve got… clear as mud! I suppose you could phone up and say “I have flu-like symptoms” but that sounds as though you’re not quite sure that you’ve got anything!

Perhaps we should make up a word of our own, seeing as the doctors don’t appear to have any suggestions. Coldenza? Grue?

Of course, there are probably things we do say, like “I have a bug, a virus, what’s going around.” If I thought of it in time, I’d go with ‘bug’. I usually don’t realize ‘there’s something going round’ till it nobbles me!

Have been mourning my weakest cells. Poor little things.

Posted in Health Issues, Observations

I Hate Colds

Just to let folks know I’ve got a monster of a cold! It started innocently with a mild throat, and I thought it would be over in 24 hours. But it’s like nibbling at a tiny leaf only to have something huge and scaly erupt through the sand!


Hope to get back on the blog-beat soon, but I’ll be taking it slow for a few days.

Posted in Computer Graphics, Health Issues, Life and Family

Friday Hair Blogging

We both have colds… Mum had to cancel her flu jab. I told her next year she should make sure of having the flu jab before she starts playing Bridge! The nurse says her chest sounds like an organ. I’m not like that but I feel funny around the middle… sort of cold.

So, keep away…..

Just now we were watching The Coach Trip (one of their eternal repeats) and a couple of men said (rather sadly) that they are good at annoying people without meaning to. “Yes,” confirmed one of them; “it’s very easy, really.”

“Actually,” I said to Mum, “it IS easy to annoy people. It’s as though they think they can pick and choose their friends, and that there will always be new ones along. Not like in the old village communities!”
“There, people picked their enemies and stayed with them,” said Mum.

One of the boys on The Coach Trip was saying how he rather hated two of the girls, but instead of making up with them, he continued to keep his distance as it was easier just to make up his mind and stick with it. I wonder if it’s important for human beings to be able to say “I really don’t like so-and-so,” as a matter of pride. It seems to be a way of expressing your identity, particularly if a whole group of people decide that So-and-So really isn’t cool.

I keep musing about friendships, don’t I!

Anyway, to explain the title of this blog post, I came here to apologize for being so quiet, and to show you one of the reasons I have been ‘away’… trying to draw hair and fur in Photoshop! It’s not easy. It sounds easy when you know how, but all of the time you’re working on it, it looks terrible, till suddenly (after several minutes of slaving) it begins to look possible. And you have an unsettling feeling that it could easily go bad, or not be a success at all. Maybe it will be a bad hair day!

PS: The Pom-Pom was the most aggravating to make. And WordPress crunched my last hair picture when uploading… Now it looks duller than it was. I hate having things forced on me… like with the double-glazing regulations!! But that’s another story.

Experimental hair drawing
Colourful Pom Pom made in Photoshop
Hairy Heart made in Photoshop
Mousy hair drawn in Photoshop
Posted in Health Issues, Life and Family

Diddums the Cruel

I went back downstairs last night to where Mum was coughing and sneezing from her latest wicked cold.
“I was socializing with my blogger friends,” I said, feeling I should explain my disappearance.
“And you left your poor old mother downstairs to die,” grumbled Mum, sniffing dejectedly.

Hmf. A few weeks ago she went off to play Bridge when I thought my cough was going to turn me blue with lack of oxygen. That day, I watched my ‘Tears of the Sun’ Bruce Willis DVD, and cried more than I meant to… it made me feel better, as though it had popped the balloon of my cold. After that, I was on the mend. But it’s not a DVD I can let Mum watch… not with all that violence and stuff. It might give her nightmares, and then I’ll be up with her all night. 😉

I made Pork Paprika for supper — it was rather good. There was no cream, yoghurt or stock; seemed surprisingly low calorie. Just pork tenderloin, onion, garlic, mixed peppers, tinned chopped tomatoes… oh, and 3 teaspoons of paprika! Fried together and then simmered slowly for 45 minutes (water added, to give it something to simmer with). Eaten with rice… the meat was very tender. We had my favourite ice cream for afters (Mackie’s), with tinned figs in syrup. I wanted to try fresh figs in a coffee and vanilla sauce, but the supermarket had none. Mum said the local greengrocers has them… will look out for them next time!

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Health Issues, Teddy Bears

Stories of Moonshine

StargazerMum’s had a horrible cold for the past week. Yesterday I said “why do you keep clutching your face?”
“My nose is very sore,” she said. She was streaming; constantly blowing her nose and mopping her eyes. I considered myself lucky to have held out without falling prey to it myself. If this was how she reacted to a plain ordinary cold, goodness knows what would happen if she caught something worse.

Last night I was telling another mortal, tangled up herself in the coil of life, that teddy bears are good to have around — they can be counted on not to die of anything, and if you wake them up in the middle of the night to talk to them, they don’t yell at you. Well, not usually.

Only the night before, I had been talking to Stargazer the dragon. I said we could pretend we were on a beautiful ship of our very own. “Moonshine!” he said. Yes, piloted by Captain Stargazer with his cutthroat crew; First Mate Diddums (bucket’s over there) and Second Mate Magical Bear. With a motley crew of cook etc, but no doctors. Not needed.

Of course it would be night, with lots of stars visible overhead. The ship would be rocking gently, and all the crew would go to bed in the same hammock. No one would be on watch because the good ship Moonshine could be trusted to deal with whatever arose. Meanwhile, our great adventure was just to drift together on the waves, far away from the cares of civilization.

Nothing like it for sending one to sleep.

The next night I crawled back into bed, saying “what will we do this time? We could have something a little more exciting, like a hurricane?”
Captain Stargazer said “I dunno… it’s a bit too soon. Would a choppy night do instead?”
“OK, let’s get cracking, then. It was a dark night. Moonshine tossed restlessly and a cold breeze blew…”

First Mate Diddums couldn’t breathe. All she did was lie prone in the hammock, and her nose filled up. She had been perfectly fine right up till then. Cooked supper, washed dishes, made tea, did a jigsaw. And now this.

She couldn’t sleep. She mumbled, turned over, sneezed violently a multitude of times, and used lots of tissues. She even held her nose… it felt full of acid. All dreams of Moonshine and adventures flew out the porthole.

I got up at 5.30 in the morning. Mum said she could wake me early to do photographic mists and things, but outside it looked like noon already. We’re supposed to leave the photographic mists till later in the year. Instead I went and answered someone on the subject of Apophysis.

My stomach keeps being gripped by cramps, but when I asked Mum if she had that, she said ‘nope’. In fact today she’s quite chirpy and is beetling about washing clothes, making tea, and doing the next jigsaw on our list. So it’s just me, then. I expect I’ll be kicked out of the Moonshine’s hammock tonight.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Injury and Mishap, My Cats

Sticking Around for 2008

Still Got My Cat

Well, all the blogs are buzzing about what happened in 2007 and what will happen in 2008… I’m just glad that the last day of 2007 isn’t to be remembered for the unexpected demise of Sharky – touch wood! (Remembers the desk is fake beech and scrabbles about with increasing panic till she finds an old-fashioned wooden ruler).

Embarking on 2008 without my feline friend – not to be thought of.

I wrote in Small Contretemps about his adventure… how he disappeared shortly before bedtime and only reappeared around teatime the next day – cool to the touch, thirsty, hungry and smelling of somebody’s outbuilding.

After drinking, eating and sitting on my lap for a while, he curled up on the sofa to sleep – and there he stayed for two days, blinking at us blearily. He got up occasionally for water and a lick of food, but it’s shocking how thin he became in the time!

Trip to Vet

We took him to the vet today. On the whole I felt that Sharky was probably alright, but I sat in the waiting room getting horribly panicky, thinking “Ireallyreallyreallydon’twanttoBEhere!” Then I would catch Sharky’s doubtful “whattayoudragmeherefor?” eye, and smile comfortingly as though it’s all just a pleasant outing and we will be going home for lunch soon. I don’t know why I get so stressed about it but I suppose I’m not the only one. When I got home I looked in the mirror, and I was all pink.

Still, pink is better than grey.

The vet said she couldn’t find anything wrong; even his temperature was normal. She believes he caught a chill from his night spent in somebody’s frosty outbuilding, and is currently on the mend. As one of my cat clients said, “not the greatest weather for adventures methinks.”

When we got home, Mum looked at Sharky in the back seat and said “you old fraud!”

Maybe I worried too much, and all it was ever going to be was a slight cat chill, but I looked on the internet last night and it was going on about pets drinking antifreeze (they are attracted to the stuff) and their kidneys packing up in two to three days. I imagine the same thought crossed the vet’s mind; she asked if he was vomiting.

My answer was ‘no’, thankfully – but these articles do get you worrying. While we’re on the topic, it seems that products made with propylene glycol are safer than antifreeze. Even if you don’t have pets yourself, it’s a good idea to mop up any spills. It’s always worth double-checking your sheds and garages in case someone’s inquisitive kitten has slunk in behind the watering can – especially in very hot weather, very cold weather, and just before going on holiday to Spain for three weeks (or even two days).

Dogs at Vets

My sister said once that whenever she takes her cats to the vet, she suffers an uncontrollable urge to discipline other people’s dogs for them. There are good dogs and good owners, of course, you know you can rely on them, but at times you come across somebody who doesn’t seem to care about anyone else. There was a lady today with a small white terrier on a leash. She walked past us on her way out, with the dog angling towards Sharky… and I thought “surely she’ll pull him back – she’s not even trying to talk to us or anything, so there’s no reason to let her dog step into our cat’s space.” But she didn’t.

I really don’t understand that – it seems so inconsiderate. My impulse was to become the dog’s owner for a second, just to pull back on that trailing leash.

Trying to forget – wait a minute while I take a deep breath…

Photo Finish

I took these photos (see foot of blog post) after our trip to the vet. The door was wide open but Sharky likes cat carriers. He curled up and slept there for about two hours before coming upstairs for food.

He’s does appear to be getting better.

All the best for 2008 to all readers of this blog!

Sharky in CarrierSharky Sleeping