Silver Lining

The bad news is that Tuesday turned out to be far too hot to spend much time in the garden, so I just napped instead. Is that bad news? I’m actually not so sure.

The good news is that I have an interview for the job I spent extra time and effort applying for last week! Yaaaayyyyy!!! *flailing Kermit arms*



It’s not a new job yet, but an interview is a really good start. I absolutely hate applying for jobs, so the less applications I have to do, the better.

To celebrate, my husband and I decided to make use of the good weather in a positive way and go down to the beach to eat fish and chips and drink cider and watch the sunset. This sounds lovely (and looked lovely, above) if not for the howling southwesterly that made us both freeze and made the chips go cold. However a neighborhood cat choose to join us and loll around cutely to see if she could steal a chip or two, and she didn’t seem to mind that they were cold, so there’s that. Obviously cats can tell that we’re cat people.



Lazy November

As anticipated, Tuesday was my day of rest. Or rather, my day of lots of sleep.

I woke up at 4am to a pile of purring, nuzzling kitties. I completely refused to get up and feed them at 4am, so there was two hours of furry cuddles before they gave up and woke up my husband instead. It was actually incredibly pleasant to have time to linger with the cats instead of being forced to get up for work. Except for the claws.

The cold wind had finally died away, so it was actually a stunning, warm, spring day. Too hot to be out in the garden really, so it probably wasn’t a bad thing that we just hung around the house. I’ve managed to coordinate my days off to match with my husband’s days off (not easy when we are both on random shifts through the week) so it’s also wonderful to have had so much “husband time” over the past couple of weeks. On an ordinary week we may hardly see one another – and live our separate lives like lonely flatmates. But we both really enjoy the time we spend together, so we cherish it.

We went for a walk on the beach in the afternoon, and spotted some jellyfish (which are apparently a big problem around Auckland at the moment, and probably a sign that the fish stocks are suffering). These ones are harmless though.

It’s hard to describe the real joy of the seasonal change towards summer. The air tastes different. Asparagus and strawberries are back in the shops. Fireworks go on sale tomorrow (for Guy Fawkes Day, because we’re all supposed to be stoked that 400 years ago we killed a bunch of Catholics who hated the Protestant King of England). Just the fact that we can have dinner outside is an unbelievable relief.

And all of the trees I’ve planted at the new section over the past few months are happy and gradually taking off. It really does make all that hard work seem worthwhile…



The Dinnertime Routine

So I came home from work (still in the daylight, thanks to this daylight savings thing)(yay!) and the kitties all galloped out into the driveway to greet me with yowls (as usual). It was after 6pm and so therefore after dinnertime, and how dare I arrive home so late! Scrappy heads straight for the door and starts bashing at it to get in. Eva does her best cute performance of rolling around on the concrete and presenting her tummy for scratching, and then chasing after me as I walked and flinging herself down again for more tummy scratching, and more chasing and flinging, and more flinging, and WHY ARE YOU IGNORING ME!!!

They all followed me inside in a tangle, still yowling and falling over each other to try and get to the fridge. However it was a nice evening, and the house was a bit stuffy. I put the mail and my purse down on the table and opened up the doors to the deck. “Sorry guys, but you can wait for a little bit while I air the house out.”

See, we have rules in our house. Not many, but at least a few. One of the rules is that the kitties all stay inside at night. They don’t go out until after breakfast, and when we put dinner down for them that means all the doors and windows will be shut. They don’t eat until they’re inside, and they don’t get to go out again after dinner. Most of the time they are fine with this, because they know that those are the rules, however sometimes Eva will forget and think that she can bat at the door in the evening and request to go outside. She’s adorable and she thinks that will mean she can get her way (which works for most things, but not this).

So, since there was still some opportunity to enjoy the warm evening air, I decided that the cats could wait a bit for their dinner – when I would have to close the doors.

10 minutes later and Scrappy is sitting under the table in a huff. Eva was up on the couch, brimming with smooches and purrs, still trying to convince me that it was dinnertime. Next thing we know, there’s a bird outside making a frightened “squeesqueesquee!!!

Eva is out the door like a shot, down low, in full hunting stalk. I wander out onto the deck to find Gomez on the lawn with a live blackbird in his mouth. Not a native bird (thankfully), but he clearly wasn’t willing to wait for dinner like the others.

“Gomez,” I say calmly but firmly, “drop it.”

He glares at me. The bird just stares.

“Gomez… you will spoil your dinner.”

More glares.

Nonchalantly, I pick up a plastic scrub brush that was sitting on the deck. I gently toss it at him, underarm, like I was throwing a horseshoe.

It lands plum across Gomez’s shoulders. Nowhere near heavy enough to hurt him, but he hadn’t seen it coming. He leaps sideways in surprise and releases the bird, which flies away in sheer panic – with Eva hot on its tail. Gomez goes and hides under the deck, lest I lob any more scrub brushes his way.

I heave a sigh and call them inside for dinner. Eva runs back inside happily. With Gomez it’s more of a sulking stalk. He glares at me all the way to the fridge.

Party pooper.


It’s my Leg

Eva has been avoiding me for two days. I don’t know why, other than the fact that recently she’d been getting so involved in her smooches that she’d build up a lot of static charge and sometimes my hand would accidentally zap her. And then she’d smack me back, because she’d think I was hurting her intentionally.

Anyway, she hasn’t even come to wake me up with the breakfast cuddles over the last couple of days, and I was really missing it. So thankfully, tonight, she has changed her mind and literally started hurling herself at me, looking for constant scratches and attention. That photo above – that’s how smoochy she has become.

I’m truly grateful for this, since I’ve spent most of the day feeling like a pile of hot garbage. Damn thyroid.

I’m still waiting for a thyroid ultrasound, and I don’t know how long that’s going to take. In the meantime, I will have to deal with the status quo.

And have cuddles. Cuddles are good.


Ma Belly

Despite all the best intentions, my garden will have to forgive me for another 24 hours or so. The rain was coming in sideways and I was still way too tired.

However, even though I’ve spent close to 3 days completely inert, our kitties are still around to make me feel appreciated (kind of). At the very least, they are currently climbing all over me, smooching and licking, because I’ve re-awoken after 4:30am and they think it’s time for Early Breakfast. Or they are testing to see if I’m alive and if they can start eating me. They are still half-wild and avoid anyone other than me and Rob, so no one would believe just how cuddly they can get and much they weirdly love their tummy scratches (without over using them as a staging point for an attack). Most cats are front-end only when it comes to scratching.

In fact (just to prove that they really do adore belly scratches) I took a time-lapse sequence of the blissful expression on Scrappy’s face, as he writhed around on the blanket kneading the air… and then how he looked when I stopped scratching him.

I know my place.

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The Russian Novel

After adding 4000 words to my course assignment today (which I’m quite proud of), I finally remembered that I have a blog and there’s still more writing to do. Oof.

It occurs to me that all this writing has made me a little strange, and Rob was giggling today as I talked to Eva while she kept trying to interrupt my work. It was after midday and she was convinced it was time for Second Breakfast. Second Breakfast being the meal that follows First Breakfast and her required morning excursion outside to go toity. Second Breakfast requires that she howls and howls and follows us around, which would be more annoying if she didn’t still have the big-eyed face of a kitten. So she’s adorable but still kind of annoying. And she won’t. Shut. Up.

Here’s a sample of our conversation:


“That’s a very sad story, Eva. You should write that down.”


“It could be another great Russian novel. So depressing.”


“Yes, I know. It snows a lot. And the kind tailor has been wrongly imprisoned for murdering his con-man brother.”


“Even though the brother is really still alive and just ran off to Minsk to escape his gambling debts.”


“Oh really? The aristocratic lady is also having a tragic affair with the gamekeeper?”


“And then she had a miscarriage? And went mad and killed herself? That’s terrible.”


“And her husband had the gamekeeper charged with theft, but then he met the tailor in prison.”


“And together they plot their escape to try and get revenge.”


“And they kill the dead lady’s maid by accidentally setting fire to her husband’s house. And this leaves the husband ruined.”


“But they’ll never really get back what they’ve lost, because the tailor’s wife has already remarried and the aristocratic lady is still dead.”


“So they both get hanged. And it’s still snowing.”


“Yes. Tragic.”





Kitty Jail

The bad weather has stayed away all week, and turned out some stunning winter days in its place. The sun cuts through the windows with glaring white light. So I had hoped that my Friday would be spent productively gaining some Vitamin D and putting in a new vegetable garden at the new section.

Instead I slept. And sniffed. And slept a whole lot more. I probably went back to work too early this week, as the cold that I’d been shaking off quite successfully is back to knocking me around. And now Rob has it too.

The kitties are helping by joining in with the sleeping, when they’re not rampaging through the house trying to murder each other. I know it’s play-fighting, but they can get a bit carried away sometimes. Scrappy and Gomez (the brothers) are fairly evenly matched, but Scrappy is at least 50% bigger than his little sister, Eva, and he’s pretty relentless when he wants to be. After the third incident of “play” that turned into hisses and tufts of fur flying, I locked Scrappy in Kitty Jail (the bathroom) for an hour to get him to calm down. But at least he didn’t try to get her assassinated.

Continue reading Kitty Jail

You may never catch the bird, but that’s no reason to stop chasing

My husband managed to rush into the pet store before they closed. He was looking for a replacement Da Bird. It’s one of those fluttery feather things that you put on a string and “fly” around the room, which makes the cats go bananas. Unfortunately, whenever they catch it, they have a tendency to chew it into bits so you need to keep buying new ones.

Anyway, my husband was in such an obvious hurry that the cashier looked at him quizzically.

“Urgent purchase?”

“It’s for my wife.”

Great. Now she thinks he married a cat…

Continue reading You may never catch the bird, but that’s no reason to stop chasing

Cuddle Time

It’s a funny thing about cats. They’re a bit like children. They have times when they really couldn’t care less about you and just want to do their own thing – ours will even play in puddles and wrestle with each other. And then they have times when they can be very clingy and won’t leave you alone. Scrappy is having a clingy day.

When I got home from a long day at work, and sat down at the dining table to read a contract, in seconds Scrappy was standing all over the contract and trying to kiss my face. He would not be deterred. And right now he is trying to sit between me and the computer keyboard, unhappy that I am paying more attention to the screen than to him. He’s a friendly cat but not usually a clingy cat, so something about today has made him needy.

Perhaps it’s the rain (it’s been a little rough, but nowhere near as dire as the forecasters had predicted). Perhaps he had a run-in with a neighbour cat. Perhaps he just remembered that he needs to be the centre of attention, and positive attention is better than being yelled at for chewing on your sister. Most of the time.

It has been an unusually full-on week with events, and there’s still one more big day to go, so having a bit of cuddle time on the couch is a welcome break from the stresses of the world. I’d like to think that maybe that’s the real reason Scrappy is all over me – that he knows I need some love. But I’m not convinced he’s all that altruistic. Even though he’s being adorable and sleepily licking my hand as I scratch his belly, the cuddles are on his terms.

Again, a bit like a kid. Selfish, but damn lucky he’s so cute.

The Day Husband Brought Home a Slab of Acoustic Foam but Swore it was for the Bed

I’ve hung out in plenty of studios. I know that’s not for bedding.

It is rather disappointing that I’ve got a weekend off (and so should have no excuses for brain fatigue and general laziness) but I have achieved exactly nothing. The weather has been chronically awful – thunder, hail, rain from several directions at once – so that has kept us out of the garden. I’ve made some tiny advances on the house site plan, and flicked off a couple of emails, and made a half-decent Pad Thai for dinner, and otherwise spent hours cuddling with Rob and/or Eva on the couch.

The rain has been making the cats flick between huddling under the patio furniture to rampaging through the house trying to murder each other. They’re still young, and as siblings they spend much of their time together, so play fights happen every day. However, this evening sunk into yowling and fluffed tails and yelling as they took chunks of fur off one another. Yet once Scrappy had calmed down, Eva still came over to sit with him and they ended up in a 15-min mutual grooming session, just to prove that all was forgiven.

Yesterday was rotten and depressing. But despite wasting another 24 hours, and despite still not getting our money back for the truck (the previous owner has basically told us to get stuffed, so it looks like we’ll need to consider our more serious options), I’m back to feeling very peaceable and happy with our little family today.

Both Eva and Scrappy eventually decided that I needed grooming too. That probably had something to do with it. They may fight, but they have a great family bond and are great role models for love and connectedness. I feel very privileged that they adopted us.