Thursday, February 28, 2013

The romance of flying, circa 2013.

2 weeks prior.
ME: "So should I just book directly with the airline or check Expedia, Webjet and Zuji?"

CUSHION: "Of course you check everything! There are always special deals. John just flew to Brisbane for 40-something dollars."

A few hours later.

"Are you sure, Cushion? I can't seem to find anything under $59."

"59's not bad!"

"That's one-way."


"And only carry-on baggage with a 10kg limit."

"What's the hurry? You can do better."

2 days later.

"I have to book something, Cushion. I think the prices change every few days hours. It's not $59 anymore. It's $69 and that's only if I fly at 6am." 

"So book it."


An hour later.

"You know, I don't think I can make the 10kg carryon limit. I just weighed the bag. It's almost 4 kilos. The Spanish dictionary alone is almost a kilo. And don't tell me to stuff the dictionary and iPad into my backpack. The 10kg limit is a combined weight. Besides, if I only have carryon baggage, I won't be able to bring my little eyebrow scissors."

"Don't be silly. It's a domestic flight."

"But I just checked the regulations! Maybe I should just buy a 15kg check-in luggage allowance? It'll be cheaper to buy it now when I'm booking than at the airport."

"Oh, and should I reserve my seat you think? It's $5 each way for a standard."

"Goodness, should I buy carbon credit?"

"Crap. I think I should get flight insurance. What if something happens and I need to go up early?"

"Listen. Don't worry about taking the 6 o'clock flight. You're only saving $20 and we'll have to get up at 3.30. That's just ridiculous. I don't want to get up at 3.30. Just book a later flight. And go for the 15kg check-in baggage. You're wasting too much time on this."

No kidding.


"Seats 1 to 15, keep left. 16 to 30 (or was it 32?) go straight." The Departure Lounge Lady announced. I was in seat 15. Obediently, everyone got up to queue. The best time to go to the ladies, I thought. So off I went. 

By the time I got back, there were only 5 people ahead and in no time at all, I was front of the line. Clever me, I congratulated myself. Just as I got to the counter, Departure Lounge Lady bellowed out, "Mobile phone check-ins to the left." 

Click. Whrrr. What? I was desperately trying to digest this new information, when Departure Lounge Lady grabbed the boarding pass from my hand. As I stood there with vacant eyes and slack jaw contemplating whether I should go left as earlier instructed *whirr*click* ...

"Straight ahead!" Departure Lounge Lady called out impatiently, pointing behind herself. "You have to go straight through the door." Next to me, in his mobile phone check-in line to my left, I heard Man In Suit snigger. 

What are you sniggering at, you rude sod! I wanted to tell him. I'll have you know I am a well travelled woman! And just because I'm not familiar with web check-ins, express self check-in machines, bag drop counters, mobile phone check-ins, SMS itineraries/notifications at 0.99 cents a pop, carbon tax options and how much cream, gel or water I'm allowed to carry on board this particular domestic flight doesn't make me stupid. (Right, Cushion?) 
Anyway, look at you, Mr Man In Suit. You're so low on the totem pole, you have to take the cheapest flight out to Brisbane on the cheapest carrier, mingling with sandalled backpackers and frugal menopausal housewives. BWAH haha, I say. BWAH haha.

So I followed Departure Lounge Lady's strict instructions and of course, ended up at the line going up the back of the plane. "Sorree!" I said to Tarmac Lady, pointing at the chute overhead, going to the front of the plane. "I think I'm supposed to be up there." "No worries," she beamed back at me, unnaturally jovial at 5.45 am. "You're seat 15. That's right in the middle." 


We sat on the tarmac for a good 15 minutes. Someone announced that the plane was being refuelled. The InFlight Ladies walked up and down chastising people who were trying to kill their fellow passengers by not turning off their electronic devices, who hadn't buckled up, who already had their seats down, who put their bags in the overhead compartment wrongly. "Wheels in first!" they called out. It might be a cheap flight but The Ladies were ruthlessly efficient. The plane started to taxi. It taxied for so long, I fell sleep. A loud unhappy grumbling woke me up. 2 thoughts collided in my head. "Finally! We're off! And "Oh god! Does the plane sound sick?"

No sooner were we up in the air, when the InFlight Ladies came round with their trollies. "Coffee? Tea?" 
Lady, do you honestly think I would waste $3 on a small plastic cup of blackish hot water with not even a dry bikkie to go with it, after waking up at 3.40am to save $20? 

No thanks, I replied politely, pulling the crushed cold pumpkin, spinach and feta muffin that Cushion had bought me the day before, from the bottom of my backpack. A bit of water to wash the crumbs down would have been good, but I hadn't brought any because I wasn't sure if a bottle would be allowed through. (Note to self for future reference - possibly yes because the mother and daughter across the aisle were drinking brazenly from a 1 litre bottle.) 

5 minutes later, InFlight Ladies came round to pick up the empty cups. And before you could say "Whatever happened to the romance of flying?" the pilot (or whoever does these things) was announcing our descent into Brisbane. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Beep beep beep.

A few days ago, Pamela wrote a post about words she uses to communicate with her dog, Honey. Beep beep beep is how Pamela tells Honey to back up. That woman is funny, isn't she?

This is my response to her question "What are some of the strange cues you use to tell your dog what you need from her? It was a bit too wordy to leave in her comment section, so here it is as a post :)

I don't know if the words are strange but I certainly find them useful! In no particular order of importance, here they are -

I guess back up are words every bigdog living in a small house has to learn. Georgia is pretty good at it. She can even go up steps backwards. [Just a few, not a whole flight.] I don't think she particularly enjoys doing it though.
"Methinks I better wait here. That corridor is too narrow and if I wait by the door, I will just have to back up out of it when Cushion comes home with my meat."


Having stinky knees, I use the word slowly quite often. It is a good word to use when 
you'd rather not have a 43kg dog bounding by you on the stairs while you're carrying 2 cups of scalding hot coffee.

"Hey Cushion, can we move a little faster here?"
"What do you mean...stop tailgating me?"


Since Georgia likes to sleep in the kitchen [usually right behind my feet while I am holding a sharp knife or directly in front of the fridge or pantry door in case food crumbs drop on the floor], I had to teach her how to move away on cue. We say excuse me because we like to be polite in this family. 

Flashback to an early lesson on excuse me.

"Excuse me, Georgia!"
  "What IS that thing, Mr T?"
"Why is it following me?"

"Leave me alone! Can't you see I can't go any further back?!"

"Oh, shove it, Mr T! I'm not scared. You just look like you could do with some company."


Curl up is something I would love to teach Georgia because it's uncomfortable sharing a small bed with a large dog that likes to sprawl and dig her nails into your legs in the middle of the night, then grumbles when you try to push her back.
So far, I've had zero success teaching her this phrase. 

Any ideas?

I always tell Georgia to relax when I'm giving her a massage. It isn't a word that requires her to respond in any way. I just want her to associate relax with an action she enjoys. Does she actually understand this? Who knows, but there are definitely times when it would be good for her to believe that this word means something nice is about to happen.
"Relax, girl. You'll feel so much better after I squeeze that awful smelly stuff out of your butt."

Ready? is another great word we use to prepare Georgia for something that is about to happen. For example, we use it before we lift each paw for washing or drying and it actually makes her shift her body weight so it's less of a struggle to lift the paw. Because the poor girl isn't psychic, I also tap the leg I want to lift as I say ready?
"Argggh! I was so NOT ready for that!"

"Okay Typist, I'm ready for my after-bath peanut butter bikkie now."

Finally, leave it! Could these be the 2 most useful words in dog training? I can honestly say, not a day goes by when we don't use leave it! at least a few times. Here are some practical examples of how we use them.

"Leave it, Georgia!"

"Leave it!"
"Leave it!"
"Leave it!"

"Leave it!"
Leave it! can, of course, also be used in situations that have absolutely nothing to do with food.
"Georgia! Leave! It!"




"Curl up indeed!"
"I don't know how you can expect me to stuff any more words in my head and keep up with my hand signals and español. I'm a dog, you know. Not a genius."

Friday, February 22, 2013

The fearsome pigdog makes a stand.

"What is this thing you put on my head, Wellie and Stanley's human? It is attracting unwanted attention."
"Do you not realise I am a proud and fearsome pigdog? Please remove it immediately!" 




"No kissing, please."

"No kissing, I said!"

"Stop it, Larry! I don't want everyone calling me a shameless hussy again."




"Seriously guys. What does a girl have to do to get a little respect around here?"

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A quick update.

The big man came out of surgery fine and was on his way to ICU when I called last night. Still too early to get an update this morning. I forgot Brisbane is an hour behind us.

Thank you so much for your well wishes and especially for sharing your personal experiences on bypass surgery and broken toes! They were exactly what I needed to hear (and it thrills me to know I'm not the only accident prone person on the planet :)

Normal programming will resume shortly! Until then, much love and gratitude, The Typist X

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I don't even know where to start.

Remember my brother, the frugal water user? He's having quadruple bypass heart surgery. The need for this surgery came as a complete shock to everyone, himself included. He was told the week after we got home from our visit with him. My brother is 10 years older than me but I'd never seen him look fitter than over Christmas. Last Thursday, he called to tell us the op had been scheduled for today but I just spoke to him, and it's now been postponed to tomorrow, time still unknown. He checked in to the hospital on Sunday, sounds in good spirits, and is passing time watching cartoons. He's already over hospital food and talking about what he'll eat when he gets out. I mentioned porridge and soup and think I saw his eyes roll over the phone. I'll be flying up to Brisbane next week to keep an eye on his diet him and will be there for 2 weeks. 

Last night, in a Murphy moment, I fractured one of my toes at capoeira, training a take down. What sane 50+ year old woman does stupid stuff like that. It's surprisingly painful, making it hard to walk. I'm pissed off at the timing and hope I'll be ready to travel next week. My brother and I will no doubt make a comic pair, shuffling around the neighbourhood on our daily recuperation walks. 

A grumpy Cushion (who has just made me a delicious sardine and cucumber sandwich for lunch while I rest, ice, compress and elevate my foot) is insisting (again) that I give up trying to spar with people 20 years my junior and take up knitting instead. 

Have you ever heard such rubbish? 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine's Day story [sort of] by me and then The Typist gets contemplative.

This is Stanley.
He's Wellington's new housemate and is just 4 months old.
Hands up if you think Stanley is a bit in love obsessed with me.
In the piccie above,  from L to R: Woody, Milo, Stanley, Daisy and my newest bestie, Pash the lab. Can you see Wellie in the back pretending not to know Stanley?

God help us all when Stanley grows up.




I read this post by Verobirdie a few days ago. Somehow it seems appropriate to share it with you on this Day of Overpriced Roses and Dinners Love. 

It's about a festival in Japan called Hari-kuyo (針供養), that honours old and broken sewing needles and pins for their year of labour. I think it's a story about relationships, respect and love. 

This link [also from Vero's post] will give you a good idea of what Hari-kuyo is about. However, if you want to know more about the ritual and significance of the festival, check out this book by audsomee.  My favourite part is the page on Values.

So what do you think of Hari-kuyo? Or Stanley for that matter? Are you a fan of Valentine's Day? :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

poofer feesh and bad fishy men.

Pleese get youR reeding  glasses out!The typis is stil being lazy  so i mus type this importen story myelsf. 
Sum fishy man has been bad again. BAD! he caiught a poofer feesh and threw it riTE   into the middel of the park on the grass wheRe anyone.   could step on it or eat it. the Typis says the fishyman hoo did it mus haf been dropped on his hed when he was a baby   becaus surely no one coud be so stoopid all by himslef .

Cushion took a pikture of the poofer feesh befor he threw it away. look how big it was! 
my friend Paddy would haf been really crook if he'd eaten it,   lucky there weren;t any kiddies aroun too.

And thaty's not all! we herd that/  sum brave hUMan went to ask a fishy man if he cood  pleese trow his old bait and  hooks and lines  in the bins and not in the park because they were making us dogs sick   and guess wat happened? she got aboosed! and had to call the police! it is ahporling appoling shamefool  wat is happening in our littel  neighburhood these days,


What is a puffer fish? >>> CLICK HERE.

"Almost all pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish. To humans, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote."

Want to know what happens when a dog eats a puffer fish? >>> CLICK HERE.