I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT! You loved those puppies far too much to wait all the way until next year. It’s Destiny, or Fate, or just The Way It Had To Be.
Is there anyone reading the blog who didn’t see this coming? ::grin::
Well, hindsight is a wonderful thing. You do need to remember however that this isn’t a box of kittens/puppies with a FREE TO GOOD HOME label. There did have to be a puppy available.
And then I could be a totally powerless and besotted wuss.
I KNEW IT! I KNEW that would happen!! (Puts big mark on scoreboard of “Guessing Right” We will ignore all the blank squares.)
Snork. Oh, how I know this feeling. Conversation over the supper table at the old house about fifteen years ago: Hey, I’ve had a great idea for a short story about a pegasus. I know it’s going to go, because I know the first line: Because she was a princess she had a pegasus. —Well, I did have a good idea for a story about a pegasus. So I was a little wrong about the ‘short’.
I knew it because people who complicate their lives continue to complicate their lives (you don’t have to ask me how I know: I’ll tell you. It’s how come I have two unrideable horses and one nearly unrideable mountain bike and managed to fall off a non-moving non-mountain bike in a shop yesterday, almost-nearly taking down a standing display with four bikes hanging off it.)
And you KNIT. Don’t forget the KNITTING. (Knitting is good. You can knit while resting your bruises on the sofa.)
You were doomed when you first posted about those pups–probably the moment when you first agreed to go see those pups. Ditto knitting, writing, gardening…
And singing. Which is your fault.* And I probably was doomed from meeting Hazel, whom Southdowner brought to that first London signing, um, four years ago? I think. I think it was about a year after this blog first rumbled underway. I’ve spent the last four years hoping that Southdowner would breed Hazel. Hey, maybe Olivia and Lavvy will inspire her and next year . . . wait a minute. A litter from Hazel? My original crush? NOOOOOOOOO. I don’t need two bull terriers. The hellhounds and I, trampled and broken, would have to leave the country.
But there’s something very attractive about having a complicated life. Attractive: you know, like black and fawn dog hair and your pale grey skirt. Like beet juice and your white t shirt.
Lucky puppy. Lucky hellhounds (though they won’t realize it yet.)
I have a vision of hellhounds wedged into the gap between the kitchen cupboards and the ceiling, doing the canine equivalent of the bottlebrush tail and the hissing.
Yaay, vicarious puppy adventures!
::trembles:: Um. Yes. ::trembles more:: This may be the moment when I really do cut back on blog time. I may declare a Weekly Puppy Photo Post Day.
They’re ALL so cute! I can’t wait to see which one you get!
Me too. The suspense is killing me. Not to mention making the compilation of long lists of potential names more arduous (and sillier).
Diane in MN
Snork. Yes, how old is Teddy? Younger than the hellhounds. You are remembering puppyhood even more acutely than I am. BUT BULL TERRIERS EAT. UNLIKE HELLHOUNDS AND (SOME) GREAT DANES. THIS WILL BE WORTH QUITE A LOT OF MANIA AND MAYHEM. Unless of course my bullie turns out to be the only bullie who was ever born who doesn’t adore food with a single minded and passionate infatuation. In which case I will leave the country. And take up raising snow leopards in the Hindu Kush.
Hopefully the hellhounds will be used to you coming home smelling like bullie puppies by the time you bring one home, and won’t think their new little sister is a stranger.
I should stop washing my post-puppy jeans the moment I come through the door and let the hellhounds sleep on them.
I quite like the look in Pavlova’s eye.
Yes, so do I! I think Pavlova was the original Big Girl in which case I probably don’t want her or I’ll be joining the hellhounds on the top of the kitchen cabinets, but Olivia says that their personalities keep swapping around in a dizzying way, and I can attest that the size differential has pretty much disappeared. Although Fruitcake may still be technically the smallest he has the biggest tummy. The biggest tummy. Southdowner calls him The Bulge On Legs.
Do you just go around grinning uncontrollably at the mere thought? Puppy bliss…
Yes, except for when a bolt of pure terror runs through me and I think I WHAT? And it’s too late now. I can’t change my mind. I’ve already told the BLOG.
I’m definitely not laughing over here, honest!!!
And when can I come and snuggle puppy?
ANY TIME. You can be part of the SOCIALISATION PROCESS. This is EVEN MORE IMPORTANT IN BULLIES than in most . . . um, normal . . . dogs, because they’re so . . . um. They would take over the universe if they were not brainwashed from birth to believe that humans are brighter/stronger/know how to open the dog food containers better than they do. I’ve been wondering if I might take it bell ringing. I don’t think the hellhounds would have appreciated this much, but their socialisation was also a bit curtailed by the whole digestive thing. But I keep thinking about Nemo trotting briskly and interestedly through the Birmingham train station—or Hazel, wearing a pink feather boa, looking grandly and calmly around Soho, and accepting the tribute of the passers-by as merely her due.
I too like the look of Pavlova but it could be that she’s just the most photogenic! I do know that we will all love whichever one it turns out to be.
Yes, good, thank you, my attitude exactly! Once it is mine it will be MIIIIINE!!!! And photoing critters is such a . . . um . . . crap shoot. When I looked at that photo afterward I thought, oh, wow, lucky with that one! One of the things that was interesting about this visit is that Southdowner was trying to teach me to recognise what is a good head in a bull terrier puppy—you know they will grow up to have those extraordinary, unique egg-shaped bull terrier heads—and I can see it at once in the white ones, but was totally confused by the colouring on the two tricolours. It took holding each of them with her head in the crook of my elbow so the little wedge shape showed to begin to see what Southdowner was talking about. And this photo does that too.
OOh! Exciting! Since Croissant was the only one we didn’t get a full picture of in that batch, I’m suspecting she may be the one you end up with.
LOL! Yes, that thought also occurred to me! I’m going to look through the photos again and see if I may have overlooked a reasonably good one of Croissant.
What’s the reason for not getting a boy? You seem quite fond of Fruitcake.
I am fond of Fruitcake. I slithered into this thinking if I was going to get a bullie, which of course I’m not, I wanted a girl—when I’ve been talking carelessly about a puppy next year I’ve been talking about a girl—despite the complications of mixed genders as described yesterday. And this litter is three to one, so having a girl left over is a much better bet.
But when I met Fruitcake the first time, only because this was a litter from a bitch that Southdowner bred and I was already in love with two of her dogs, and besides, you know, puppeeeeeez, I thought well actually I wouldn’t mind another boy, BUT I’M NOT GETTING A BULL TERRIER PUPPY (at least not this year), THIS IS ALL FANTASY, SO I CAN THINK ANYTHING I LIKE, INCLUDING THAT THE ONE MALE PUPPY HERE IS DARLING. (But then so are the girls.) And so long as I could avoid hierarchical difficulties with the hellhounds, why not a third boy?**, and DID I MENTION THIS IS ONLY FANTASY SO I DON’T REALLY HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT? Southdowner kept saying firmly that it’s all about socialisation and having a male bullie wouldn’t be a problem with two male hellhounds. But now that I’m actually on the firing line here for a puppy Southdowner and Olivia have suddenly gone all po-faced and say that bullie boys usually make bullie girls look tame and quiet and that I’d be better off with a girl. Feh. As I keep saying, I’ll love whoever I end up with . . . but it would amuse me a lot if all three girls are sold and there is only one leftover . . . boy.
All I will say – apart from Puppeeeeez! – is, I am not one bit surprised.
Well I admit I’m not really surprised either. You know how when you are in the process of making a big decision—or maybe you aren’t like this because you are a sane, mature grown up who, for example, doesn’t knit, and therefore hasn’t developed a yarn stash that needs its own house in only a little over a year—there’s both that sense of NOOOOOOO LIFE IS TOO COMPLICATED ALREADY followed by and all tangled up with the sense of OH NEVER MIND I’VE DECIDED AND THEREFORE I WANT IT NOW. So. Yeah. If there was a puppy available now . . . MINE. IT’S MINE.
I hope you, the Hellhounds, and the soon-to-be Hellpuppy, have long and happy years together.
* * *
* It’s a good time to be surviving a new puppy while Nadia’s on maternity leave
** Except of course it would be nice to have a full length of tummy to rub again. Male tummies are unduly short due to complications at the farther end.
Having a terrifying new nightmare* adventure rolling toward me like Boadicea’s spiked chariot . . . I mean, having the immediate** prospect of a delightful bull terrier puppy is obviously good for me.
I rang what passes in my case for not at all badly at the abbey this afternoon.***
AND I FOUND MY LENS CAP. It’s been missing for months. I find it the day after my FIRST OFFICIAL VISIT to see MY puppy†? This is clearly a sign.
Do the boys get along with puppies in their space?
I have no idea. But they’re going to have to learn. They adore puppies met out hurtling, but what they’ll do when they find out this one’s permanent and here may need to be negotiated tactfully. I’m sure it’ll be okay eventually, I just don’t know how long eventually is going to take. But to start with the New Member will be crated away from hellhounds, and all meetings will take place under my tyrannical eye.
I am trying to imagine you taking them all for a hurtle. Can a bullie hurtle?
Bullies are small square hurtle machines on little short legs that move in a blur. They don’t have the hellhound capacity to be in Kent before I’ve taken a breath for the recall, but they certainly hurtle. And I’m trying to imagine taking all of them for a hurtle too. I asked Southdowner, pathetically, about hurtling three dogs, when the possibility of getting a puppy next year first came up and she said oh, you get used to it. That’s really helpful, thanks.
One of the things both Southdowner and Olivia keep trying to impress on me is that bullies have no off switch. You do not want to wind a bullie up, because it will shortly enter orbit, wearing your roof as a hat. One of my favourite memories of Southdowner coming here with attendant bullie (not Nemo, whom you met on this blog, another one, Southdowner has several) was watching her trying to get its harness put on before it BURST out of the back of the van. First there was the frenzied scrabbling and mad barking as Southdowner opened the door, and then there was the rear view of Southdowner with bits of bullie shooting out first one side and then the other. Ear. Tail. Head. Foot. Another foot. Oh, there’s the head again . . .
Yesterday Southdowner dropped me off at Olivia’s while she went to find a parking space. Olivia was doing the washing-up and she said, you can go on into the puppy room but ignore Lavvy till she calms down a little. Yes. Well. This was a little like ignoring a heat-seeking missile with your name on it, but I took the point.
Speaking of Nemo . . . you may remember that the last time I took the train to Birmingham to look at bull terrier puppies I found an exit so obscure nobody, including station staff Southdowner asked for directions, knew it. This time I was going to make a prodigious effort to come out some, you know, normal exit. I was just about to get horribly lost again when . . . THERE WAS A BULL TERRIER. A FAMILIAR BULL TERRIER. I stopped in my tracks and yelled, Nemo! Southdowner said smugly, I knew you’d see a bull terrier. She was right—I would have walked straight past her.
But this is also the good side of the maniac outgoingness of the bull terrier. Nemo wasn’t the least bit fazed by Birmingham frelling train station. He was a lot less fazed than I was. Granted he has been very very very well socialised but . . . he also has the personality. Even very very very well socialised hellhounds would be miserable in a mob like that.
Congratulations! I’m sure it will be a blast! (As well as the usual hell of puppyhood, with which we are all familiar, of course!)
Yes. It’s too soon. It’s only been six years—in, in fact, October—since the hellhounds arrived and I remember it all too clearly. Noooooooooo. . . . And they were only hellhounds. This is a bull terrier puppy. Southdowner’s standard line about bull terriers is that they’re just like dogs, only more so.
I got a Mastiff pup in April, and he’s the best, quietest, most well-behaved puppy I’ve ever had — housebreaking was a cinch, no separation anxiety, etc. — and I STILL was counting the weeks until those sharp puppy teeth fell out, and I’m STILL counting the months until he’s not a wild and crazy play monster and settles down… Yup — it’s all worth it.
Well . . . your adolescent probably weighs four or five times what my mini bull terrier will weigh. The gene pool for mini bullies is still fairly small so (as I understand it) they breed in a few standards to keep the lines strong. One of Southdowner’s foundation bitches—from whom I believe Lavvy descends—is a standard. I’ve met her. She’s old and mellow and a sweetie, but she’s HUGE. The first bullie I ever met, many years ago, and loved instantly, was also a standard and also HUGE. They are built like tanks, or bulldozers. The earth shakes when they gambol, and being bullies, they will gambol.
After the whippets died and I went into a Grey Fog of Dogless Despair, and which is why I was determined to do overlapping generations this time although I wasn’t planning on getting the next generation in quite so soon, I had a list of dog breeds or dog types I was considering. I’ve told you before that I had my hand poised over the phone to ring up the greyhound rescue when I saw the ad in the paper for hellhound puppies††, and sighthounds/lurchers of some ilk were in first place. But both bullies and Staffies were on my short list, both of them regretfully rejected because I wasn’t going to deal with a fighting breed. I’m thrilled I’m going to indulge the bullie fantasy after all, but I wouldn’t be if I didn’t know Southdowner, didn’t know that she or Olivia will answer questions and back me up if I need it, and hadn’t met several of Southdowner’s mad/charming bullies and have some sense of what they, or at least that branch of bulliedom, are like.
I also had thought the hellhounds might be my last puppies because puppies are labour intensive and I’m getting old. So, right, this makes sense, I’m getting a puppy for my sixtieth birthday of a breed known to be extra labour intensive. Never mind. I can still do the rescue greyhound/ couch potato thing later.
Um. On the subject of “you do not want a male for your first bullie” – have they considered the fact that you have two entire males in your household (have you?)? Not a problem _this_ year, but unless you’re going to get her fixed (which I doubt, given her pedigree)… trouble down the line?
Please. I’m nuts, I’m not stupid. She—supposing my first bullie is a she—will probably board with Southdowner while she’s in season. No matter what the gender and personality mix I end up with however, hellhounds and bullie will not be left alone together at least till the bullie is past adolescence . . . which on conservative estimate will be two years or so, by which time if it’s a bitch, she’ll have come into season once or twice, and we’ll have the opportunity to find out how hot and come-hither she is, and whether the hellhounds notice, since some dogs and some bitches aren’t big into sex and procreation. Although this is more a sighthound/lurcher thing and a bullie bitch probably will be swinging her hips and suggesting that they come up and see her some time. †††
I think the deal is going to be that if I end up with a bitch that either Southdowner or Olivia would like to get a litter out of, I’ll keep her entire—do you say entire with girls?—till this feat is accomplished. If she’s not worth breeding and she’s a problem when she’s on heat I’ll get her fixed after she’s had a season or two. My default position is that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it—which is why the hellhounds are entire—so if she has nice tactful seasons she can keep her insides. I realise this is how accidents happen but . . . well, actually bull terrier is a popular lurcher cross. I met a quarter-bull three-quarters sighthound when I was casting around for lurchers that was about the most gorgeous animal I’d ever seen. If he’d had puppies out of a plausible bitch available I’d’ve had one. Or two.
More tomorrow. Yes, it’s true, the only reason I’m getting a puppy is for the blog material.
* * *
* Friday night I kept dreaming about bull terrier puppies charging around a big sitting room with cream coloured carpeting. Guess what happened to the cream coloured carpeting. Last night I simply didn’t sleep.
** IMMEDIATELY. AAAAAAUGH. Although even if I’d had a year’s run at it I’d probably still be melting down three weeks before the event.
*** Warning: ringing geekspeak follows. I’m increasingly short of sleep due to a variety of stresses. And while I had somewhat recovered myself at practice last Wednesday after ringing like a three-legged goat last Sunday^ I still went in today with a large sense of doom following like a balloon on a string. And then there were ten or eleven of us^^ and I thought maybe I can just sit out and knit.
But no, here was Scary Man, saying in a tired and resigned voice, Robin, come ring Grandsire triples. And I did. Scary Man did that encouraging/alarming teacher thing of not standing beside me Because I Could Do It Myself. It was not a thing of beauty, as I usually say of my best ringing efforts, but it wasn’t embarrassing. My impression is that Scary Man cheered up slightly at this point, gave me the treble for bob major and asked me what else I had been looking at, ie what other method I might like to try. Blither blither, I said, um, bob triples or bob major?^^^ And he said, Stedman triples?# Oh, yes please! I said, fool that I am, and I did go wrong, but I had help##, and it still wasn’t dreadful, and he’ll probably let me ring it again.
^ An intellectually challenged three-legged goat.
^^ Including a visitor I found on the doorstep. Unless you’re St Paul’s or York Minster towers are usually pretty friendly . . . and the abbey lets me keep coming, after all. So I brought him up, indicating which dark mullioned+ path led through the accumulated maze of twelve hundred years of history at which point, feeling a complete fraud, and turned him over at once to Albert.
It is perhaps worth noting that he was unusual in that he didn’t have to stop every 300 (vertical) feet, lean on a triforium or a reredos, and gasp. I almost asked him if he had hellhounds he hurtled regularly.
+ Well all right maybe not mullioned exactly
^^^ Any ‘plain bob’ method is the shallow end of whatever follows: so plain bob doubles is the first method you (usually) learn, five working bells and tenor behind; bob minor is six working bells and likely the first minor method you learn. Grandsire triples is usually considered more musical than bob triples and a lot of towers don’t bother teaching you bob triples at all, although Grandsire is harder. Bob major is eight working bells, and so on. The point is I was trying not to ask too much.
# Which is a lot harder. In theory I can ring a plain course. In theory.
## It’s easier to ignore someone going wrong when he’s not going wrong in your vicinity.
† Whoever s/he is
†† And I know I’ve told you that. I really thought I’d told you about how I got Chaos as well as Darkness, but apparently not. Okay. I will. Just not tonight.
††† Olivia says Lavvy really enjoyed getting it on
I went to Birmingham on the train again today.* Southdowner picked me up at the station and took me off to Tiptoe on Cludge to play with Lavvy and her puppies . . . again. I’m spending kind of a lot of money and travel time on some random litter of puppies, aren’t I? Even if they are southdowner’s grandpuppies** and as cute as a box of Green & Black’s.***
So . . . Olivia rang me up out of the blue this week. Oh hi, I said, puzzled, since even if she were coming to Hampshire again with a load of the small, furry and four-legged, New Arcadia isn’t that much on her way, and it’s not like I’m one of her . . .
Olivia believes in cutting to the chase. One of my buyers has dropped out, she said, and I might be able to talk her into changing her mind, but I don’t want to. I want my puppies to go to people who really want them.
Oh? I said, my mind instantly leaping off its flywheel and spinning till it smoked.
And I wondered if you might be interested, she went on.
My mouth fell open. I may have said ‘aaaaugh’.
You don’t have to decide immediately, she said hastily. But—well—you seemed fairly serious about wanting to be put on the list for next year, and I just thought . . . if you wanted to think about it and get back to me. . . .
I don’t have to think about it, I said. I want one.
Olivia laughed. Southdowner seemed to think you might say that, she said. But you really can take some time to think about it. Talk to your husband or whatever.
My husband will be delighted when he gets over the shock, I said. He’s worrying about what to give me for my sixtieth birthday this autumn. He can give me a puppy.
So of course I had to go look at them again. Olivia works insane hours, and pretty much my only opportunity to see them before they get much older was this afternoon.
So I went this afternoon.
Oh my gods I’m about to have a BULL TERRIER PUPPY.†
I can’t go on calling them ‘white girl’, ‘coloured girl with broad blaze’, ‘coloured girl with narrow blaze’, and Little Prince Charming. So in keeping with the food theme in this family . . . Scone is the white girl, Croissant has the narrow blaze, Pavlova has the wide blaze, and the boy is . . . Fruitcake.
I do have some puppies-in-action photos, but they’re mostly blurry: this was indoors in poor lighting. But I might post a few more anyway . . .
* * *
* Which was amazingly fine for a Saturday, until a bunch of drunk out of their gourds football hooligans got on at Barnstorming on the way back to Mauncester. I hate Barnstorming. Barnstorming is where the famous occasion when Peter and I nearly never made it home at all happened. . . . Train staff? Are you kidding? They didn’t want to stick around to deal with this lot either. Arrrrgh. At least they were the friendly end of drunk.
** In Fiona’s admirable phrase
*** Anybody here not know that G&B makes my FAVOURITE DARK MINT CHOCOLATE, without which I CANNOT LIVE?
† And no, I don’t even know which one!!!^ I don’t hang out with show dog quality much. I’m used to the see-which-puppy-comes-up-to-you-I’ll-have-that-one school of choosing, plus performing a few probably bogus tests to help you avoid the pushy thug and the cringing neurotic. Darkness came up to me immediately and started untying my shoes, and Chaos . . . you’ve heard the story of how I ended up with Chaos, haven’t you? So as I’ve told both Olivia and Southdowner, I’ll love whoever I end up with, and two or three years from now I won’t be able to imagine anything else, like I can’t imagine life without Chaos (so to speak). But apparently this is an unusually nice litter—Southdowner says that if you’re looking for breeding/showing quality you usually choose by discarding, and there are no obvious discards here. So the head of the puppy-acquisition queue hasn’t quite made up their minds yet—and Olivia and Southdowner are both a little anxious about me as a first-time bullie owner, so of whatever’s left they’re going to give me the quieter one.
^ Where am I going to PUT IT in my miniature book- and yarn-stuffed cottage? I can’t move around in the kitchen now, because of the hellhound crate. And what will the hellhounds think?
The puppies will be ready to go to their new homes the beginning of October. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH
I’m better.* I’m still not planning on conquering the world this week but maybe next.** I would be better better if I hadn’t had the standard nonsense of my energy starting to flow back in yesterday evening with the result that I COULD NOT GET TO SLEEP LAST NIGHT.*** So today has been a struggle. A different kind of struggle, but there’s still been a certain amount of Antaeusian wrestling about it, and holding a giant over your head gets really tiring.
Also my brain is lying on the bottom of my skull like a soufflé hit with a shovel. Have I mentioned that both Niall and Penelope have degrees in hard science? Niall thinks he’s going to teach me the rudiments—repeat: rudiments—of calculus† and Penelope has loaned me a couple of basic physics texts that she used when she was a classroom teacher. I took the easier†† of these two alarming-looking textbooks to the sofa with me this afternoon with the very basic text that I bought about a week ago because I know from experience that one explanation isn’t going to shatter my ignorance, and . . . whimper.
Meanwhile, there was Oisin.
I wonder if the quality of the recording was part of the problem. Lots of recorders compress the sound in a way that cuts out all the nice resonance which you’re working to get into your voice. . . . Built in microphones are generally pretty poor as well – various singing fora recommend proper recording equipment that costs a fortune but a separate microphone you can connect to a computer might be a good stand-in if you want to record yourself more often with less wincing! (I’d always go for recording the sound alone rather than sound and video… less to wince about!)
I don’t know how to turn off Pooka and Astarte’s video—I don’t know how to record sound only and as you say it’s not going to solve the built-in microphone problem. I did know that I wasn’t going to be getting a great result but no, it didn’t occur to me that it might be quite this destructive—I mean that what I’m hearing when I play back is that much, ahem, less accurate than the original noise I was making. But this is almost exactly what Oisin said to me today: record on an iPhone? Am I crazy? But it’s worse than that—because he does have professional recording equipment and in fact has a little handheld gizmo that he says has fabulous sound and (he added heartily) that we’ll use that. Gleep. You’re all systematically destroying my wiggle room, you know? I was deliberately recording myself when I wasn’t at my best, and I also knew that Pooka and Astarte as jills-of-all-trades were not going to be fabulous recorders, even if I didn’t know how unfabulous. Ah well, there will still be the wiggle room of the fact that I get feverishly anxious about singing for Oisin. Which probably explains why I keep forgetting to photocopy my music.†† So I can only sing stuff that he can bear having me shrieking past his ear, and then I usually can’t read the lyrics well enough anyway and am busy panicking, so sing most of it on ‘ah’.
But for example the accompaniment to She’s Like a Swallow is really pretty (as we discovered today). It’s one of these frellers where the accompaniment is having its own party and mere singers are not invited, however, but it would be worth persevering. Hmm. This may the moment to experiment with the CD in the back of the book.
Have you thought about recording your lessons? Not only does it capture the good bits, but I used to find it very helpful to sing along to recorded warm-ups from lessons to try and recapture a bit of that singing teacher studio magic!
. . . And the bad bits. But yes. Nadia also mentioned a long time ago now that some people do record their lessons. That went straight past me like a bullet, with me cringing frantically out of the way. But it’s occurred to me again lately. Because it is so frustrating that I’m now at the stage where I’m more relaxed at home—I have not merely a G and an A at home, but more often than not a B-below-high-C—and Nadia never bothers luring me above G, and sometimes stops at F. I can hear myself shutting down. I can’t get the (comparatively) lovely round notes out of myself that she can—but I can yowl up to G and usually A without thinking about it. So I have been wondering if it might be worth trying to record a lesson. On whatever Styrofoam and chewing gum tech I’d be using I’m not going to get the round notes, but I would get what Nadia says to me.
I do weight-training. Pushing through a too-heavy lift, even though I need a spotter to assist, will improve my strength tomorrow.
If it doesn’t break you. However I do have enough sense not to be trying to sing Una Voce Poco Fa. Yet.
I’ve been working on my own for the last year. . . . However, I’m definitely noticing a tendency to coast, so am signing up for more training.
Yes. This is one of those the world-is-divided-into-two-categories things. There are the people who understand about taking lessons/going to practise sessions even when neither your job, your relationship(s) nor your mental health demands it and you’re never going to be professional/the best/even sort of moderately good at it, and the people who don’t get this at all. I am absolutely in the former category. Generally speaking anything I want to spend time doing on a regular basis I want to do better. It’s just . . . more interesting, trying to do something better. I do have the excuse of writing stories for a living—the more different things you can crawl inside of, the more stuff you have to draw on when the Story Council sends you something impossible.††† But my personal experience of first-class music is absolutely enhanced by my ridiculous struggles with piano and voice—and my possibly even more absurd forays into composing mean that I look at scores with a whole extra dimension of curiosity and engagement. Oisin was playing Durufle and Reger on the organ today and I was hanging over his shoulder and thinking, how do they do that? —Aside from being brilliant, that is.
When I ask my students to record themselves, I ALWAYS tell them they need to discount at least half of what they hear as the fault of their recording equipment. (Unless, of course, they have professional level recording equipment on hand, which none of mine have ever had.) We’re very used to hearing other people performing who have been recorded with pretty good equipment in decent acoustic spaces.
I entirely forgot about the decent acoustic spaces part. I don’t suppose the boiling water and the clash of pans were doing me any favours the other night. Sigh. But there is a fabulous little handheld doohickey in my future. . . .
And I do have a doodle of gigantic throbbing neon ratbags, as requested by Blogmom on the forum last night. You will be thrilled to know. But this is long enough and you’ll just have to wait.
* * *
. . . thank you for sharing your coping skills and thank everyone on the forum for sharing their experiences. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 15 years ago . . . I’m in the midst of a huge flare. . . It’s very discouraging. Reading the last couple of posts from Robin and all the comments on the forum, I don’t feel as alone in this. . . .
I find it pretty discouraging that so many of us still feel so isolated. Some of it is the nature of the disease(s) themselves: if you’re tired and sore and stupid engaging with the world is hard: you’re too tired, you hurt too much, and your brain is porridge. But some of it, I feel, is that there’s still a bias that what’s wrong with us isn’t a real disease—and that we’re only welcome in polite society if we pretend to be ‘normal’—which we can only do on a good day, we can’t predict when we’re going to have a good day, and why should we have to anyway? I know there are exceptions, but the people I know who get it usually get it because they have some direct experience of someone with one of these slippery conditions.
Anyway. I talk about my ME more than I planned to when I started this blog, for exactly this reason—that I hear from too many people saying it’s a relief to hear more injured parties talking about it.
Diane in MN
Could an infection have sparked your ME flare?
Almost certainly. I think of it as my jealous boyfriend. How dare I have a flirtation with a random virus? I belong to it.
** No, I haven’t got time to conquer the world. I have to finish a novel.
*** Thanks for all the game recs. The only ones I’d seen by the time I shut down the laptop last night were Maren’s, so, while I was lying awake I investigated them on Astarte and for the venial reason that it was the cheapest I bought THE AWAKENING. But you may remember my little broadband issues. It took nearly an hour, give or take, to download the freller—I went back to my nice paper-tech book for a while and eventually gave up and turned the reading light off again . . . and lay there in the glinting twilight of Astarte’s screen. Yes, of course I could have put her in the next room^ but I was transported to an ancient era when you might fall asleep with the TV on^^ and wake up to darkness and an empty flickering blue screen. How many of you remember when, not only was there no internet, the TV went off the air every night?
^ Some kind of Rubicon is crossed when you start sleeping with your technology. Astarte is on the bed. Pooka is on the shelf beside, next to the kitchen timer I use for an alarm clock. Pooka is of course (metaphorically) hardwired to Peter’s emergency buzzer . . . and Astarte is also my ereader. It’s logical really.
^^ I have never had a TV in the bedroom+ but there have been several eras in my life that have involved falling asleep on the sofa.
+ Eww. Sorry, but eww.
†† Which is to say the one with more photographs and fewer equations.
††† Slightly in my defense, my copier lives at the cottage, and my piano and my music live at the mews.
‡ Like right now. I have a Definition of the Universe Through Your Friend, Physics waiting in my email inbox. I need to read those basic physics books fast. I should really learn not to ask experts. They may answer. They may then expect you to enter into a conversation with them on the subject they feel you brought up. Gleep again. Gleep cubed.
Yesterday’s luck wasn’t all bad. I got my post up earlier than usual*, noticing in a distant, detached way** that it was sheeting with rain and going back to the cottage was going to be interesting.*** I was standing at the sink doing the last washing-up and watching the solid wall of water sliding down the kitchen window when . . . the lights went out. About a second later there was an almighty crack of thunder and lighting in Jehovan, Greater-Trump mood. Gleep. I was in the process of working out where the nearest torch† was—you may have noticed the way ordinary reality takes on strange whorls and slipstreams in sudden near-absolute dark—when the lights came back on again.†† My first thought had been for the hellhounds—especially the part about tripping over them in the blackness while I’m still deaf from the thunder††† and cannot hear the click of claws on lino. But hellhounds don’t mind thunder, lightning or fireworks all that much, although Chaos has been known to try and chase the funny lights/shadows of the local Guy Fawkes celebration which teems in the windows at the mews. Last night they remained crashed out in the dog bed.
My second thought was for my computer. I Have Perhaps Mentioned that I am about to buy a new workhorse laptop because this one is dying. It has been stalwart and uncomplaining for several years and in laptop terms it’s about 200 years old and it has withstood an awful lot of keyboard-bashing when Word, Outlook or broadband is being particularly grotesque, which is often.‡ But the breaking point‡‡ was a few days ago when I unplugged it to put it into my briefcase-equivalent to take back to the cottage, and a little orange light started blinking in a subdued but urgent fashion. Now I could spend £65 or so on a new battery . . . or I could recognise the handwriting on the wall. ‡‡‡ I’m trying to remember the last time the power went out. But the day I say ‘yes’ to the specs proffered by Raphael § . . . the power goes out.
Twice. The second time the bang was louder. The lights came on again a few minutes later, and the laptop is still functioning. §§ Not so, however, the router, which was fried to a cinder. Fortunately—which is where we came in—I got my blog post up earlier than usual last night. . . .
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I was moaning to Oisin about SHADOWS which, as I keep saying, would be going very well if it was due in August§§§. For the end of January, not so much. I have a great idea! said Oisin. You can cut it in half (January is halfway, right?) and end it on a cliffhanger!#
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Second check: I was a few minutes late## to bell practise and as I scuttled down the road to the tower I wondered why I wasn’t hearing anyone ringing up.### I panted up the ladder and discovered Penelope lounging on a bench in a ringing chamber magnificently devoid of bell ropes. We have not worked on our telekinetic skills to the extent perhaps we should have, and our ability to ring bells without ropes is poor. There were murmurs and thumps from upstairs. Vicky came down a few minutes later to say grimly that Felix had been supposed to put the ropes back on on Wednesday~ but had . . . clearly failed to do so. Roger, Niall and Leo were up in the belfry being manly, and we were more than happy to let them get on with it.~~ Rehanging ropes is always a ratbag: having crippled yourselves and got covered with cobwebs, the ropes are never the right length. The two was so short we had to climb on each other’s shoulders to reach it, and the four is now long enough for Rapunzel’s prince to climb up it.~~~ However, the ropes did get hung in time for us to ring a little. There was a certain quality of whoa, what is this thing%, since our bells have been out of action for one reason or another the last three weeks and at least for the hoi polloi (ahem) one loses one’s edge rather quickly.%% And after Christmas our bells will be taken away for months. Whimper.
Uh-oh. It’s raining again. . . .
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* No, I still got to bed at dawn, which is easier again since the clocks went back. Personally I’d rather have the afternoon hurtle in daylight, but cranky letters to the Time Authority^ have no more influence than cranky letters to the Story Council.
^ And so, okay, you might decide that they’ve just come down officially on the mucking-us-about-twice-a-year side+ but I’m sure there’s a unilaterality to the weeping and gnashing of teeth over the Time Authority’s inexplicable refusal to give us a few more hours in the day.
+ And what does any bureaucracy live for but to muck us about?
** FRELL. FRELL FRELL FRELL.
*** More frelling.
†† And my printer went mad. CHUNTER CHUNTER CHUNTER WHACK WHACK WHACK CLICK. Repeat. Repeat again. Repeat several more times, till unplugged.
††† It was nearly that loud.
‡ ‘Most of the time’ is probably more accurate.
‡‡ Speaking of breaking points, and the fact that a car must start: Diane in MN suggested I ask-a-mechanic on www.cartalk.com about Wolfgang’s ominous erratic fault. Has anyone out there ever done this? They want you to pay for the privilege, which is reasonable if they’ve got real mechanics on call, but they want your credit card #—not PayPal—and I’ve never heard of Just Answer, and yes, I am extremely twitchy about brandishing my credit card on the internet.
‡‡‡ ‘Buy a new computer, stupid.’
§ Hard drive bigger than god, crumbs-and-tea proof^ keyboard, sufficient muscle to recharge the iPad and an electromagnetic clamp for hanging grimly on to wonky broadband signal.
^ The drip-prone filling of Green & Black’s mint is not mentioned. I should ask.
§§ Note to self: buy new surge protectors.
§§§ to wit^, a year from when I started it.
^ There’s a joke here . . . but I’m too tired.
# No jury would convict me.
## Hellhounds and I were very comfortable on the sofa.
### At least they had finally got the alarm in the bank on the corner turned off. It has been going all day. It was going last night when hellhounds and I finally got back to the cottage, and at rmmph o’clock in the morning, in the dark, with no one around but you and the floodwater sluicing down the road the moooop moooop moooop noise sounds like an announcement of the end of the world. And fortunately it’s cool enough to have the windows closed on that side of the house, and my bedroom is on the other side anyway. But by the time hellhounds and I hurtled past the bank, the corner and the alarm in daylight it had outstayed its welcome.
~ Apparently there had been one more day after the one more day after the one more day before the forces of imposed order finally declared the job done.
~~ This is an occasion where being larger and stronger is a boon, but since I’m taller than either Niall or Roger . . . I will plead ME.^
^ It does have its uses. You’d just far rather find your excuses somewhere else.
~~~ There would be a problem when he got to the arrow-slit window however.
% Clearly not the Staypuft Marshmallow Man.
%% Grandsire? Why don’t you just call him Granddad or Gramps like a normal person?