An inconclusive list of things I’ve learned from having a puppy in the house (again)

  1. Tiles are a godsend.
  2. Carpet accidents happen. Despite your best efforts.
  3. Money spent on a good carpet cleaner is never a waste.
  4. Reading instructions and learning the proper use of your carpet cleaner is time well spent.
  5. Puppies (like teens) eat a lot. They will eat pretty much any everything.
  6. Puppies have two speeds; full throttle or fast asleep.
  7. You will walk more than you usually do or care to. You may even run.
  8. The older dog will teach the puppy good habits. And bad ones.
  9. The sound of dogs play-fighting is different from the sound of dogs actually fighting.
  10. Puppies learn rules quickly. They will flaunt them. While looking at you from the corner of their eyes.
  11. Puppies will bring out the gentleness and sweetness in recalcitrant teens.
  12. You will be responsible for the puppy (even though it will “belong” to the nearly-adult child).
  13. You will not mind this responsibility. You always wanted a horde of kids and dogs.
  14. You can teach a puppy to boop noses.
  15. Clever dogs learn quickly. Good behaviour, and bad.
  16. There is intense joy in being greeted at the door by excited dogs.

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What starts with ‘F’ and ends with ‘uck’?

Q: What starts with ‘F’ and ends with ‘-uck’?

When my eldest was still shorter than me, still small enough to clamber up onto my lap, take my face in his chubby little hands, and very seriously demand my attention, we lived in a remote town in the far northwest of Australia. (Now he demands my attention by shoving his phone two inches from my nose and insisting I watch whatever video, or chuckle at whatever meme he’s found — like he’s doing as I type this.)

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An Ode to Things and a Farewell

So, here we are in part 2 of the ongoing repatriation saga.

Packing and moving over continents is always a stressful act. The emotions tied to watching your possessions be carefully, or not so carefully wrapped and boxed can be overwhelming. It’s easy to dismiss possessions as nothing more than trinkets, clutter that fill your living space, but for most people those are expressions of themselves. The tiny fat dodo bird made of green glass that sits on my mantle may be nothing more than a dust collector to visitors, but for me, it is the embodiment of a carefree, relaxed week with my oldest family friends in Mauritius. It’s the memories of that week, the comfort of being my
self around people who’ve known me almost my entire life, and the memories of childhood holidays with the same people that that week evoked, all encased in a squat glass bird.

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On 17th birthdays and glimpses of the adult

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Image by Ed Schipul/Flickr

So, here I am very early on Godzilla’s 17th birthday, resting on the corner of Testosterone Lane and Horsepower Road. Having two teen boys in the house means a lot of muscle flexing, boundary pushing, and territory marking. They wake with teasing exchanges that rapidly morph into the rat-tat-tat of suddenly flared tempers. And before long, like two elephant seals, they’re bumping and jostling each other over the most trivial of things. Left to their own devices, I’m sure they’d find a way to argue over two flies climbing up the wall.

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El Sibonéy

 

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Yellowtail filet with yellow rice and fried plantains at El Sibonéy ©Asha Rajan

Our second day of vacation in Key West, we Yelped for restaurants not too far away (always a criterion when moody teenagers are in tow), and El Sibonéy came up. The rating was good, though not stellar, but the reviews piqued our interest. They were resoundingly good.

We headed out for a late-ish lunch, bellies rumbling, tempers just beginning to fray. Only a very few confused, hangry directions later, we found this unassuming treasure.

The building’s a brick 1970s home, gutted and converted into this bustling Cuban restaurant. From the outside, apart from the snaking line of waiting diners, there’s nothing to suggest that this is somewhere you might obtain an actual meal.

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A Tale of Familiars

Cheriamma (left), her oldest sister (centre), and the TeenWolf
Cheriamma (left), her oldest sister (centre), and the TeenWolf

In January of 2012, my my mother’s younger sister, my small mother, my Cheriamma went kicking and flailing out of this world. The end of her life was as she had always lived it, full of fight, and on her own terms. Cheriamma was a brilliant, beautiful, eccentric woman who encountered academic failure for the first time at university. And with that first failure, she left her degree, enrolled in secretarial school, and set about finding work. If you don’t try, you can’t fail. A funny, generous, loving woman who never married, she was adored by her nieces and nephews. And her many many cats.

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