Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Greetings

I wish you all a wonderful day and may the coming year bring joy to you and yours.

Happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays?

I've been wondering why this annoys me so much. It's not that I don't think we should acknowledge all the other festivals around this time of year. I'm fine with that but 'Happy Holidays' grates - and I'm none too fond of 'Season's greetings' either and not only because it so often lacks the possessive apostrophe.

It took a bit of thinking but I've finally worked it out. It's because of two things. One is that both seem to be thoughtlessly generic and basically lazy. All the religious festivals at this time of year - and there are many whether it's the Hindu Festival of Lights Deepavali (sometimes called Diwali) at the beginning of November, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, St Nicholas Day, the solstice celebrations of Druids, the Christian Christmas or any other of the multitude across the world - have their own significances and to me it seems disrespectful to lump them all together.

The other irritant - and I know this is petty but it bugs me - is that most of these are not 'real' holidays. While there may be time off for some associated with some of them - and many who celebrate them may only enjoy them as a break from work and a secular celebration without acknowledging their religious origins - they certainly don't all have associated holidays. To me - and I willingly admit that I'm probably being pedantic - makes 'Happy Holidays' a nonsense.

So, while I certainly won't be expecting everyone to agree with me or follow my example I will still be wishing people merry Christmas and a happy New Year along with happy Hanukkah, happy Diwali and so on. To me that's feels like being respectful.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Sad Little Story

Yesterday morning I went into the kitchen to see the cat staring fixedly up at the skylight. When I looked I could see a small skink about 7 centimetres in length wandering around on the clear base of the skylight. As this skylight is a solar tube one with a reflective lining it would have cooked if it stayed there so I got the ladder and took out the base to get it out.

Of course, a shower of debris fell out at the same time - somewhat to my surprise as it hadn't looked dirty. Most of this landed on the top of the ladder and when I went to clean it up, while Pisces was taking our visitor outside, I was deeply saddened to find six tiny desiccated skink corpses. There was a dead spider, too, that had built a scraggy web up the side of the tube before it succumbed.

The thing is I hadn't even realised anything could get into the tube until I saw this little skink and I'm still not sure where or how they are getting in. The tubes are supposed to be sealed to stop dust getting in and there was hardly any dust in it but there has to be a opening somewhere - and to let in a skink of the size of this one, it isn't going to be minute. I looked up into the tube but couldn't see anything so I guess the next step is to get someone younger and fitter than Pisces and me to go up on the roof and check the seal.

In the meantime, I'll be checking for unexpected visitors regularly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I'm Ranting

but it's important and I am very angry.

On the weekend we had a family get together and it included a nearly four year old and a very well mannered dog. Miss Nearly Four has lived with a dog her whole life and she has always enjoyed playing with our dog when we had one and the visiting dog, which she knows very well - until now.

So why is there this sudden change? Because when she and her mother were on the footpath going to the local park with their elderly, arthritic and leashed Border Collie, three rottweilers came out of an unfenced property and attacked the dog. While her mother managed to rescue the dog before any real harm was done - she lifted him bodily over the nearest fence - and the dogs were driven off by her and a neighbour who heard the commotion and came out to help, she was left with a terrified little girl.

The owner had come out by then and called off her dogs but didn't get that she had any responsibility for their behaviour. According to her they were well behaved show dogs and they were entitled to be on her property - which quite obviously they weren't when they attacked. After a lengthy and heated discussion with the neighbour and mother lasting 40 minutes and involving a threat to call the Council ranger the owner agreed to put up fencing which she has done.

While this is all well and good it hasn't done anything to help a little girl who is now traumatised to the point that when our visiting dog gave a short play bark she panicked and insisted on being carried. While we spent a lot of time trying to get her accustomed to being with the dog, we shouldn't have to. This was a perfectly well adjusted little girl who loved dogs and loved playing with them and now, due to the irresponsibility of this woman, is terrified of even a gentle and friendly dog she has known since it was a puppy.

How dare this woman put this child - or any other for that matter - in a situation where she could have been injured as could her mother and their dog. I love dogs - I've lived with them all my life - and, since my old dog died earlier this year, I am looking for another. When I get one I will be making sure it is well mannered and socialised but I'll also have to ensure that this child is not traumatised again or triggered by normal play. Why should she have to go through this distress due to one person's selfish disregard of basic dog training.

So I may be ranting but I think I have good cause. Don't you?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sorry, I know It's Been a While

but somehow things got away from me a bit. I'm not even sure how but I just seem to be in one of those cycles where you get up in the morning with a list of things to do and at the end of the day - when you've worked non-stop - most of it it is still to be done. I'm guessing you've gathered that writing a blog post was one of the things left to be done.

Since today is already half gone and I'm still behind this will have to be a short post but I did want to share these links.

 These exquisite images are made from paper and their delicacy is breathtaking. US artist Maude White uses a scalpel to cut out her designs.

Then there are these images of baby animals in the womb from National Geographic which came up on my Facebook newsfeed.

And just because - this delightful video of a toddler and his best mate getting excited because Daddy  is coming home.