Day 319 – Calling All Evil Overlords

47 – 100 Proven Tips To Become A More Effective Evil Overlord

Frankly, the only reason I added this list to my list is because I have this running thing with someone in the office where I call him my Nemesis or an Evil Overlord. I cannot even recall how it started, and it seems preposterous now.

Maybe I was deflecting from an internal truth? *steeples fingers*
Continue reading Day 319 – Calling All Evil Overlords

Day 316 – Party Reno

50 – 100 Quick and Easy Ways to Freshen Your Home

Sadly, doing the kitchen will only lead to more work though before we can have a party.

The rest of the house really needs ridding of the horrible carpet that I’ve tried to keep not-too-indecent for far too long. We intend to get bamboo flooring instead. Initially we were looking at carbonized bamboo cut along the grain for a nice dark coffee-tone floor that will be a hell of a lot easier to keep clean of hairballs and mishaps.
Continue reading Day 316 – Party Reno

Day 315 – Who Needs a Kitchen Anyway?

51 – 100 Kitchen Designs

…speaking of kitchen renovations…

100 décor / design ideas and not a single one really jumps out and grabs me. Not that I’ll let that stop me from a renovation; it just means I’ll have to make it all up as I go along instead.
Continue reading Day 315 – Who Needs a Kitchen Anyway?

Memories of Bronte

I have never been a dog person.
Cats have always been more my style.

Not A Dog Person
Not A Dog Person

Abbey always wanted a dog.

One day in 2006 she told me she was going to see a whippet that someone had on offer to a good home. I was very clear she should not bring it home. So she brought it home… just so that she could see what it’d be like. I was very clear it was just to try on for size. So she kept him. I was very clear I didn’t like dogs, and it would be her dog.

Abbey Is Boss
Abbey Is Boss

Then the bastard dog proceeded to be so unspeakably reasonable, quiet and lovely that I couldn’t help but give in at every turn.


He was a bit demanding at times. Especially in the beginning he seemed to be very fearful of upsetting us. He seemed very fearful of us going away and not coming back. This fear translated in some… annoyances.

When we’d go places, we would leave him in the back yard so that we wouldn’t have to worry about his toileting habits in our absence. We’d return home to find him at the front door waiting for us. He got very good at jumping the Colorbond fence by launching himself off the exterior airconditioner unit.

Walkies Now?
Walkies Now?

We decided, we’ll deal with the toileting habits and just lock him inside on the lino. What could possibly go wrong. And we returned home to find Bronte sitting at the front door, waiting for us, outside. A brief investigation into the matter revealed that he had wriggled open the narrow laundry window with his nose, broken the glass, jumped through the window screen, launched off the airconditioner unit and found his way back outside.

He always was a bit of an adventurer when he wanted to be.

I Can Jump Anything!
I Can Jump Anything!

But his true inner nature was that of a stately British lord. Never happy unless seated on a pile of pillows, front-legs crossed, with a look on his face that could only be more striking had he actually had a pipe in his mouth.

Lord Bronte
Lord Bronte

He came travelling with us to many places. Some cold against his better judgement. Some rugged against his soft inside-dog paws. And he collected a range of fashionable coats to shield him from the elements, … or any mild discomfort really. I could relate to that. It’s one of the many ways he found to endear himself to me.

Clare Valley Pup
Clare Valley Pup

He also participated in Halloween dress-ups. And he didn’t even seem to mind all the silly/stupid/awkward things he had to endure to look fabulous. Somewhere I cannot find it right now, there is a picture of him dressed as a praying mantis. Alas, Inspector Gadget will have to do for this occasion.

I Briefly Considered Dressing as Brain.
I Briefly Considered Dressing as Brain.

Everything seemed like it would never end.

Then last year he got diagnosed with heart disease. And the prognosis was not good. It was the kind of degenerative disease that usually doesn’t take very long before it becomes terminal. We didn’t expect to make another Christmas with him. And it hit me harder than I ever would have thought. I was a mess. I cried a lot and slept very little. Over a dog! I don’t even like dogs!

We got him on some medication, and it was expected it would extend his healthy life-span somewhat before we had hard decisions to make. With a bit of luck, there’d be one more summer, and possibly one more Christmas to look forward to. And against all odds, it did. There was no noticeable progression of the disease.

Christmas, After All
Christmas, After All

Bad things never happen in isolation though.

He also had a growing lump on his butt. Of all the indignations in the world, he wasn’t going to die heroically of a failing heart, but a stupid growth on his ass was going to do him in. Under other circumstances it would have been an easy decision to go for surgery then-and-there, but with the heart condition the required sedation was risky at best.

We tried some alternatives. Hormone suppression injections seemed to help, but that was more in our minds than in actual reality.

When I got home on Friday Abbey needed a hug. She had been to the vet for a check-up for Bronte, the lump wasn’t shrinking and surgery was the only option. He was booked in immediately for today. 2:30pm.

By dinner tonight we would either have a live Bronte or a dead Bronte. And I was trying very hard not to think of how this Schrödinger experiment was going to unfold. I left work early to drive the dog to the vet.

Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen, As Long As I Hold You...
Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen, As Long As I Hold You…

I had been taking lots of extra pictures of him over the past few days. It was tough to hold it together full-well knowing why I was doing it. I think I may have developed a Pavlov reaction to cameras.

We drove to the vet but she was running late on a house-call. We took Bronte to a nearby park. It seemed as if he knew something was about to happen. He seemed unsettled, but whether that was the unusualness of the situation… the smells of nature… or perhaps our emotions feeding into him… I’m not sure.

Something Is Not Right...
Something Is Not Right…

By about 3:15pm we were back at the vet, and by 3:45pm he was getting some sedatives before the X-Rays. Within moments he was legless and head-butting solid surfaces. We had to head home to distract ourselves. The whole process from start to finish would be taking about an hour to get through.

My eyes kept darting for the time.

4:10pm … by now they must well-and-truly be done with the X-Rays and know whether there are further lumps making surgery pointless. No call yet, so that at least must be looking good.

4:25pm … Bronte must be fully under by now. If his heart isn’t going to take it, it could be any minute now.

4:30pm … The phone rings. Too early. Shit.

Early News is Bad News
Early News is Bad News

I hear Abbey pick up the phone in the kitchen.
I wander over bracing myself.

The tone sounds wrong.

I faintly hear a voice at the other end. Also the wrong tone.

And a weight falls off my shoulders as I realise they were just done very quickly. They must have over-estimated the effort. They are asking if the lump on his leg needs to come off too. No, we’re not concerned about that one… it’s not an actual growth. It’s been there forever.

It takes another hour or so before they call us to come pick him up. It’s the second-longest hour of my life, as I imagine something going wrong at the last moment.

Although he’s still not completely in the clear, his biggest worries for now are controlling the pain and the potential for infections. If that all goes smoothly over the next couple of weeks he should be back to his usual self. It’s looking more and more likely that he’ll make the remainder of his natural lifespan before his maladies catch up with him.

Still Smiling.
Still Smiling.

Sooner or later it will be time to say goodbye.
But luckily, not yet today.
Maybe a few more years of additional memories to come first.

And I’m still a partial mess.

Day 314 – Glaze the Lot!

52 – 100 Ways to Cook with BBQ Sauce

I’m fairly certain we have a barbecue in the yard somewhere. It’s not my barbecue; technically it’s Abbey’s. She has however managed to craftily avoid using it so far, having found willing victims in myself, Callan and Ken.

I am really not much of a BBQ chef. It’s not that I can’t. It’s not that I won’t. I just do not have BBQ in my veins. Not the way Australians or Texans do.
Continue reading Day 314 – Glaze the Lot!

Day 313 – My Idiot Box

53 – 101 Best-Written Shows Ever

I like television. Perhaps a bit too much. Out of the 101 shows in today’s link, I have seen 53. And a little voice in the back of my mind was singling out a further 28 as I was counting that it’d really like to see, thankyouverymuch.

I was an almost indiscriminate watcher of TV of dubious quality.
Continue reading Day 313 – My Idiot Box

Day 312 – Dweller-of-Beaches

54 – World’s 100 Best Beaches

It looks like I may have to visit Byron Bay. Not only will it tick the box for one the 100 Best Small Towns in Australia, it also is one of the World’s 100 Best Beaches. Two for the price of one visit!

I never was a beach-dweller in my teens. I’m still not in the typical sense of the word, but I enjoy walking through the surf more than I ever used to.
Continue reading Day 312 – Dweller-of-Beaches

Day 311 – Shy That Way

55 – 100 Tips To Overcome Shyness

There is something inherently odd and amusing to me in the idea of a book about overcoming shyness. I understand the appeal of reading how to be less shy, but obviously, sooner or later you’ll have to get your nose out of that book and into the real world if you are to make progress.

I sympathise though. I’m very shy and introverted by nature.
Don’t laugh!

I hide it well these days, but that wasn’t always the case.
Continue reading Day 311 – Shy That Way