Connie update



(Photo taken before Connie lost her sight… Her eyes are like little mirrors now.)

So Connie had her blood glucose curve again yesterday… Still no improvement. But the vet thinks she knows why. It could be that Connie also has Cushings disease (a slow growing tumour of the gland which controls cortisols, managable with the right medicine). Apparently this is common in older smaller white fluffies (poodles, maltese, westies, shihtzus), and does co-occur with diabetes. We’ll know more after the very expensive blood test on Tuesday.

so 2014 happened…

And let’s just say that we’re kinda glad that 2015 is here, huh? University was ok, but I was very stressed ( goal this year: learn to do this with LESS STRESS) and then I was sick for the middle 6 weeks of semester 2 with influenza type B. Somewhere in here Connie had pancreatitis really severely again. Then I had a big tooth out in hospital which took a looooooot longer to heal than I thought it would… I spent a lot of time feeling very miserable.

Attractive look, no?


Anyway, we eventually got to the end of the semester, with the help of extensions on work due from a very kind lecturer. And I got a good mark (but I still haven’t read her comments on my essay, that’s how much has been going on since and how completely OVER it I was by the time I submitted the work!)

And then our beloved Connie got sick. There was just something… Not Right. We rushed her to the vets and found out she had diabetes and had to start on insulin right away. A couple of days later she was completely blind.




ConnieShe’s coping remarkably well. Better than us. Her blood glucose levels still aren’t stable (she spends another day at the vet tomorrow for an all day blood glucose curve reading) but she’s still happy and playful, so we’re hoping we can get the right dose of insulin worked out for her to make the best of what she has left of her life. She’s ten and a half- if she hadn’t had those two bad bouts of pancreatitis we might have had a couple of extra years of our wonderful girl; as it is, every day is a bonus.

Uni results, semester 1

Yesterday was results day, and while previously the uni has said results would be released at 4pm, sometimes they’ve been available earlier … nope, not yesterday.  The servers crashed at exactly 1600 as eleventy squillion students all tried to log on at once.  I got through at about 4:30 to find….


High Distinction.

After the misery of the early part of the semester, and the terrible days when I only managed 100 words of the 2nd essay (which was worth 40% of the entire mark) over the course of an entire day…  I am EXTREMELY PLEASED. And relieved.  I have managed to get through Introduction to English Literature (ENL1000).

And now I can move on with some confidence to the next English Literature course, which is at second year level (the only offering at first year level did not appeal, so I decided to take a chance at the 2000 one) Gothic Stories: Terror over Time.  We start with Dracula…

The gazanias seems to survive where other things don't - hardy little plants!
The gazanias seems to survive where other things don’t – hardy little plants!

At last… the office!


It’s been a VERY long time since we’ve been able to use this room. Depression, bad backs, depression, inertia … but this was the semester break that somehow made the difference.  The Horn sewing cabinet is folded up but the machine inside is still accessible should I want to sew (this has not been possible for the last (AHEM) years while the room has been out of commission) and while there is still some minor putting away of things needed, I have a DESK again. No more writing essays cramped on the day bed (ow my back) or in the arm chair (see previous); no, I’m back on my proper office chair, and once I get set up ergonomically again, my neck and shoulder pain should improve.

The  rug in the photo came from one of those places that overlocks offcut carpets from houses and is by far the nicest quality carpet I think I’ve ever had in a house.  Cost us $140 for 1.6 x 2.6 metres, looks grey in the photo, is sort of grey brown, and you know what? I don’t care one whit about the colour, it’s soft and warm underfoot, and will keep the cold winds from blowing through the floorboards.  Luxury! (None of the rest of our house has carpet, although there is a smaller rug under the sofa in the lounge room – the wind does tend to whistle through this house.  Or you could say we have good air exchange.)

Tomorrow is officially uni results day for semester one.   I know I’ve passed, I just want to know my final grade.

The bees love this spiky grevillea
  The bees love this spiky grevillea

I don’t know the variety of this grevillea but the tiny wrens and finches love darting in and out of its spiny leaves. The silvereyes (about half the size of a sparrow) almost hover like hummingbirds at the crimson flowers. at his plant was one  of the tube free ebies we got at the town nursery with our rates notice probably five years back, and it is obviously well suited to the area. So far we haven’t had much luck with growing it from cuttings though, but that’s more down to our novice skills than the hardiness of the plant, I suspect.

Another cold night coming.  I’m very glad of the thermal t shirts on nights like these!

So it’s been a long time…

… between posts.

A whole semester, in fact. It felt like a very long semester at times, partly because I went through a patch of very bad depression near the start of it, and really struggled.  I was studying Introduction to English Literature, which sounds like it should be a doddle after three units of Creative Writing – but it really isn’t.


Even being familiar with the first texts we studied (a couple of sci-fi short stories, then HG Wells’s The Time Machine) didn’t help, since the Black Dog had me so firmly in his maw that all I could do was moan and try to fend off his teeth and wipe the drool away.  It was Not Good.  A new prescription from the Very Helpful Psychiatrist did make a difference, but not before I had to ask for an extension for my first essay and bother a Good Friend in Canberra for help because I was Hopelessly Lost on how to tackle it.

Still, we got through.  And luckily, part of the course was little open book exams on the computer, six of them to eventually make up 30% of the course mark, rather than one big exam at the end of the semester. And I got the full 30% there.

new fleecey circle on top of the ottoman=bliss
new fleecey circle on top of the ottoman = bliss

Wuthering Heights: I loved it!  With the surprising revelation that Heathcliff was very likely black (son of a slave, coming from Liverpool, there are references in the text and enough context from the Brontes to make it plausible…); Edgar Allen Poe (“The Purloined Letter”) I did NOT enjoy so much but ended up writing part of my second essay (worth 40%) on; the other part of the essay was on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story “The Dancing Men”.  Then we had a week on Shakespeare’s sonnets (only a week because our lectures and tutes were on Mondays are we got hit with a lot of public holidays and so missed classes).

I don’t know the full results yet, but I know I’ve passed well. Full results come out next Friday. O week for Semester 2 is on the 14th.  So for Semester 2 I’m tackling “Gothic Stories: Terror over Time”.  Wilkie Collins’s “The Woman in White”; Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”; Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”; Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”, and selected episodes of season 1 of the TV show “True Blood” (more vampires, but sexy Southern American ones!)

I’ve started reading “The Woman in White” and it’s delightful in a high Victorian melodrama way – Italian Counts! asylums! hopeless loves and rescues! a (female) cousin with a moustache! Bad Baronets!

Meanwhile this is day 19 of the headcold from hell. It *is* getting better, just very slowly. Chai tea seems to help.  It had been stopping me from sleeping to the point where things got rather desperate, but we’re hopefully – HOPEFULLY – getting back on an even keel now.  We shall see.

Allie leaves home

His publicity shot...
Allie’s publicity shot…

Allie left home today.  Went to what should be a very nice new home where there a lot of other birdies with a lady who has other cockatiels and budgies and sulphur cresteds… we will miss his chatter, but we can’t keep everyone.  Bub and the little two (now called Salt and Pepper but very difficult to tell apart) are starting to venture out of the nesting box but are a few weeks away from being weaned yet.

In other news: our washing machine stopped working yesterday.  After much turning it off and on again and cursing at the rotten thing, we went and bought a new one. I’m hoping the technology has improved over the last 11 years and the new one will be quieter and a little bit kinder on the clothes.  The price for delivery included hauling away the old one, so at least we’re not left with the old one cluttering up the yard…

Poor Mr Beloved has a real shiner – all purple-y and green.  He had a possible skin cancer cut out on Wednesday, 6 stitches – ouch!  He goes back tomorrow to get the stitches out the the biopsy results, but the GP was pretty confident she’d got the whole thing.

I have a eustachian tube/middle ear infection thingummy and am deaf in my good ear, which is a bit of a bugger. My balance is off – I feel like elevators are going sideways.  Not a huge problem in a town where the longest elevator ride I generally need is 4 stories, but still disconcerting.



They grow up so fast…

Bub is the one with more yellow and pearl; Bib is in foreground with more grey
Bub is the one with more yellow and pearl; Bib is in foreground with more grey

As you can see, the big two are already quite feathered…

The little two

And the little two are well on their way – those feathers are breaking out of the sheaths already.  It’s almost impossible to tell the little two apart, I think they’re going to be pearl greys like Allie.

Connie is ever curious about anything little – she wants to kiss the babies!

Connie gets very excited whenever the babies come out of the cage.  Puppies, smaller dogs, baby birds – Connie just loves anything little.

Best Dog Toy EVER!

Reminding us that poodles were, after all, bred to be water retrievers

Since it’s HOT again this week we decided we’d get Miss Connie a paddling pool.  After an initial wariness, she remembered that poodles are water retrievers and was straight in after her ball (or as she prefers to call it when she has her mouth full, her “bloggroggrogg”).  She has special toy poodle size ‘tennis’ balls from the pet shop, and when they’re wet, they’re Even BETTER.

She worked out how to use the step…
It’s not really for CLEANING the dog, though…
You can make the ball roll around for ages...
You can make the ball roll around for ages…

When the bloggroggroggs can be rolled around in the water for ages, they get even better still.

Soggy bloggrogg ahhaa!

And then you can take them out and demand that they be THROWN while they’re all soggy, which means the humans get sprayed with water too, oh yes.

A ball, in a pool!
A ball, in a pool!
The empty side is just as much fun – you can climb from that!

She spent about 2 hours hopping in and out this arvo, having a lovely time, before eventually deciding she’d had enough and consenting to come inside to have the mud washed off.  There is absolutely NO POINT in washing the floors while she is playing with the pool!

(We have a lot of dirt and not a lot of lawn: the 2011 flood (and then the 2013 Australia Day “rain event”) washed a lot of our topsoil away and Mr Beloved is working hard to sheet mulch and re-vegetate areas, but for now: heat + dirt + running dog = dirt gets dragged into her pool.  We’ll let it settle overnight and see how it goes, but I think we’ll be bucketing it off to the garden and refilling it tomorrow.  Small price to pay for keeping the poor old dog cool.)

I also expect the magpies and butcher birds will use it when Connie doesn’t.