dog (& cat) day – lockdown 2 day 66

Lainee is not impressed with the cat invasion.

Today has been an interesting day. Another friend’s dog to groom. Artist friend so I got to see her studio and her work. Wonderful.

I also took Lainee to the vet for a quick check up. Her heart meds seem to be making her coughing worse but she’s fine in herself, still happy and playful as she’s been since the weather cooled down. Today I picked up another medication for her, something that has the possible effect of shrinking mammary tumours. Next week she’ll have them removed… Good but scary. I’ve never been nervous about one of my dogs undergoing surgery before but for some reason this time people are making me wary…

I also took Selina (below) and Eric to the vet. Eric needed his second vaccination but I have to wait another two months to get him neutered. He’s growing so fast! He’s already bigger than Selina.

Selina is fine. Her lungs are pretty much cactus due to her having had a respiratory infection as a kitten. She will apparently always breath short and shallow breaths and not be a very active cat. The vet said this is a sort of instinct, knowing she will have a meltdown if she expends too much energy. Poor girl. She always is so quiet and looks so sad. So different from the kitten who first appeared in the neighbourhood last summer who was too fast to catch. I bought her an insulated kennel where she sleeps at night to keep her warm. I will begin allowing her in the house, but she’s a bit nervous inside. And Eric is being a monster to her. She really needs a quiet life.

I visited a hardware store that has the Dulux colour charts and can mix up any Dulux colour I want. Only problem is, I can’t find Antique White USA anywhere on their colour swatches. It seems to be they only use codes here, not names… Its been my go-to white forever. I googled the code so I will call them and ask if they can mix it up for me…

I also wanted to buy some sanding paper for my belt sander, but of course I can’t get it here. They have to order them in, IF they are standard size. My sander is an Ozito, a brand made for Bunnings in Australia. If it was a universal brand I may have been able to order the paper in easily… so now I await news from the hardware store.

I did buy some pieces of sanding paper for my finishing sander, the one you clip the paper into. Its not a sander I use much, prefering the orbital sander for most jobs.

I also got some timber strips to make some display boxes. I should have gotten more, wider ones too for doll display boxes. I need to make some for my barbies.

I can’t get over how expensive things are here. I paid 2e each for some plain unfinished pine knobs for the kitchen cabinet I’m painting. That’s almost AU$4 each . And these are the cheapest knobs you can get. I thought I’d try custom painting them instead of buying fancy (expensive) ones.

The timber cost me almost $AU30 for 9 metres of skinny pine.

And some liquid nails. The cheapest ‘type’ of liquid nails (cause of course they don’t have ‘LIQUID NAILS’ here, was 5e a tube. Thats almost AU$10. For a tube of liquid nails/glue anything style glue. Unbelievable.

Man I miss Australia…

z

exercising with a cat – lockdown 2 day 59

Exercising with a cat is possible, in fact it increases the intensity level of some of the exercises. Just remember to move slowly and with control when reaching down to scoop a cat out of the way in the middle of a stretch, to pluck him off your legs when doing squats, and to not jump up suddenly when you return a body part to the groud and hear a yowling sound from beneath it.

I’ve tried putting him outside for the duration of exerise (or breakfast which is like ‘sip coffee, put cat on floor, bite of toast, put cat on floor, repeat’) but the racket he makes interferes with keeping a clear mind.

I left him outside for most of the day today. Not intentionally. Well, sort of intentionally. I was getting ready to go out and he slipped out the door and evaded being caught like a egg white in an egg separator.

So, I drove off and left him outside. After all, he goes out for short periods all the time… and he needs to learn to be out for longer periods… and the weather was fine. So I left.

When I got home I remembered I’d left him outside and had been gone for hours. Yikes. He was nowhere to be seen so I had to go looking for him, calling his name and picturing a squashed kitten on the main road below us. Thankfully he was up the top of the hill where we walk daily and came running at the sound of my voice. He was so worn out that he cuddled and slept like a baby for the rest of the day.

(Note to self: put Eric outside most of the day every day…)

My day was derailed yesterday but I did achieve something. I didn’t realise it was a public holiday so even the ‘partly opened’ shops were closed. Even supermarkets. I did find a few things I wanted in a deli however. And I did go see my aunts to drop off and pick up stuff for mom (naturally).

Then I went to my uncle’s garage to find him and his pet Albanian working in there so I left. I went down to my aunts place and worked out a deal. I’ll use the tiny unit I lived in for a couple of months when I arrived on Paros 2 years ago, with its outdoor area, to work. The unit is undergoing renovation so its not all pretty and precious right now. The outdoor area is not waterproof but I can store my stuff inside, paint furniture inside and work outside when the weather is good. There is an outdoor table I can use as a work table and a built in bench I can put my drop saw on. Yipee. I’ve got a place to work! FOr a while at least.

In return I’m also painting a few things for my aunt. Good swap.

I’ve taken the tools I had at my uncle’s down to the unit and need to begin sorting and collecting stuff from around the house that I’ll need in order to set up a proper work space down there.

I’m so excited!

z

now panic – lockdown 2 day 45 & 46

Its the day before the day before Christmas.

And I planned to do tons today.

I was going to bake shortbread cookies, work on my sculptures and make a little bag for my mom to carry her phone and flashlight in for her Christmas present. But somewhere along the line I got sidetracked and now its panic time.

This morning I cleaned the house and baked cookies and ate lunch then watched a Christmas movie and fell asleep on the couch and worked on my fish sculpture and started a new dog and cooked Lainee’s food and tomorrow I have errands to run for mom in town and Lainee and Rosie and Spitha to wash and dinner to eat with the family and now its 9pm and I haven’t even started the bag!!!!

And I don’t even remember if this is yesterday’s post or today’s… Is it day 45 or day 46 today? I think its day 46 and yesterday was day 45… I think I’m one day behind cause most days I leave it too late to post so I post the next morning and sometimes morning turns into afternoon and right now its night…

So… in the spirit of posting about every day during lockdown, yesterday I pretty much did the same thing, except I worked on the fish and dogs and made chicken and corn chowder and invited my cousin over for dinner. And I didn’t clean the house. I’m not crazy enough to do that every day. So maybe not exactly the same…

Lainee is not impressed with this ‘ignore Lainee streak cause I’m too busy’ streak I’m going through.

Eric is way more pushy. He’ll jump onto my lap as often as he likes and will sit in my chair if I get off it for a second.

Here is a preview of the newest dog…

Anyway….

I got stuff to do. I can’t sit here blogging all night!

z

life gets in the way – day 41 & 42

I’ve had a busy few days and its not over yet. This week I begin painting some furniture for my cousin so that means I’ll spend mornings over at her house working. That will cut into my ‘at home’ productive time, but thats ok. I’ll still be doing something creative.

Plus it’ll give me a chance to see what I’ve left up at my uncle’s house in terms of wood scraps and see what I can make of them…

I’m still trying to sort out some kind of work space somewhere…

Meanwhile Lainee had a playdate with Morty yesterday and Eric discovered the washing machine…

I read an article yesterday which has got me thinking the big questions again, so beware… another big question post is coming soon.

I’ve got two more dog sculptures on the way and one almost finished. I made myself a new batch of paper pulp clay that didn’t turn out as good as the first but I think I fixed it.

I also received the new clay I bought so I can get on with things again.

There is talk that lockdown will be lifted on January 7 for a week, then back to lockdown. To be honest I’m not really sure and not even sure I see the point of it.

However, I’ve been trying to evict my aunt 1’s tenant for months now and can’t do it due to lockdown. I want it over with. The guy has been living in that house for 30 years and paying the same rent the entire time. When my aunt increased it for a few months years ago, the economic crisis struck and he talked her back down to the original rent. He also got my poor aunt to sign a new contract for 10 years at the same rent!!!!

My aunt always had to chase him for the rent and his share of fuel costs, which he apparently always paid eventually, but never on time. He made demands of her and mom but never let anyone in to fix the flat when there was a leak or something so the house has not been maintained since he moved in. He never opens a window, only one window of the 4 gets opened at all, and even then, only a crack. How do people live like that?

The law is on my side. We have a court order to evict him but of course with lockdown no one is enforcing it. Soon as lockdown is over he is out on his ear. He’s had plenty of warning but uses COVID as the excuse for why he can’t move out. At this point he again owes us 6 months rent and is using fuel to heat the place that mom paid for and isn’t paying for it. So he’s costing us every day he’s in there.

I have half a mind to shut off the fuel to his flat.

I want the place for mom. She needs it. She’s 89 next month and with her dizzy spells and mini strokes I do not want her going up and down flights of stairs to her house. I want her on the ground floor. So the tenant from hell MUST GO.

Sigh. I’m not the kind of person who puts people on the street, but he looks like he’s making no effort at all to move out and it will force me to do it. I was always prepared to fight this with him in court, but the court has decided in our favour. Now I just have to enforce it. As it is, mom wont be able to move in for ages since the house is probably a mould-fest right now and everything will need knocking down and rebuilding and replacing. Sheesh.

It will be a huge and expensive job to fix that place…

Anyone have any friends with violin cases who can make him an offer he can’t refuse?

I really hope he leaves voluntarily.

z

another day – lockdown 2 day 40

This morning Eric joined Lainee and I on our morning walk: the short walk up the hill Lately Eric has been going out on the porch the minute I open the door (he loves it out there) and hangs around with the other cats till we get back. This morning he followed us all the way up and back. At least he knows the way home from there now I guess.

When we got back Cheeky was sitting on the window sill looking pretty.

Today I started a new dog and, as you can see, I have myself a new assistant.

I wonder what will happen when he’s twice the size and wants to sit in my lap or on my chest while I work…

I’ve decided to go a different way with Lainee’s issues for now by putting her on medication for her heart for 2 weeks to start with and see how that goes, then putting her on meds for her growths as well. Vet 2 said that a medication meant for drying milk has been shown to reduce the size of mammary lumps so we’ll try that. We’ll treat her and monitor the situation and hopefully her heart will be better and her lumps will be smaller and easier to remove when the time comes.

Other than that, not much to post about today. And I’m tired…. Its still early but I’ve had it. I’m going to bed!

z

all quiet on the island front – lockdown 2 day 39

Eric says Hi. He’s generally a great kitten, he has his insane moments but thankfully they’re not too bad. He enjoys his ‘playstation’ so I’m not getting claws and pounces too much. I’m waiting for the teens to strike though. I’ve been warned about them. Hopefully he’ll survive them in one piece. He already knows the look and sound of the spray water bottle!

Lainee has had her xray (all clear) and a second opinion. I’m probably going to have to do another test for her heart, but the first vet said it was simply a riskier surgery due to her murmur which the second said she could barely hear. So its up to me basically. If I’m willing to risk it either vet will do surgery. I’ve risked it before on my dogs and I will again cause this has to be done. I won’t risk her getting cancer from these growths. So its just a matter of deciding on vet 1 (who removed her teeth) or vet 2 (that my friend swears is the best) and booking it. I will decide tomorrow and make the appointment.

Is it just me or do others feel guilty when getting a second opinion?

Anyway, today has been a very low key day. Its been blowing a gale out there since yesterday which makes being outdoors rather unpleasant so I’ve stuck inside and done a few bits of clay work. I was longing for a day spent at home. For some reason I’ve been really tired and even fell asleep on the couch while watching TV. Probably cause I’m going to bed later and later and Eric insists on waking me up at 7.30 every morning.

The big flat thing to the left will be a fish eventually (once I decide what the scales will be made of) and the dog in the back is on the last stretch. Right now his ears are drying.

I put together 2 of the small houses I made to hold tea lights. They’re crooked as all getout, but I like ’em. Now to make one more and set them up to live on my coffee table or bookcase or somewhere, if I can find the room…

I’ve been putting off painting though I’ve been thinking about it. I have some boards prepared and some paintings I started that need finishing. I really should get onto that but I need to build up to it. Meanwhile I ordered more clay online. I’m on my last block. Air dry again of course. For the time being.

Now the big question remains… What should I have for dinner? I made some pasta sauce with a bit of bacon and tomato for lunch/dinner last night. I can make more pasta and have the leftover sauce. Or I can have a salad before the cucumber I bought goes entirely rotten*…

Oh such big decisions!

z

*What are vegetables? They’re those things we select carefully, squeezing and inspecting each one in order to chose the best ones, then let them slowly die in our refridgerator.

not a productive day – lockdown 2 day 35

I had a pretty non-productive day.

I spent a couple of hours taking mom in to see her cardiologist and then picking up some shopping (cat food, dog food…) and got home in plenty of time to actually DO something, but didn’t.

I spent most of the afternoon and evening doing beached whale immitations on the couch.

However, I did manage to get inspired to do a few things. I sorted out the sewing table which had become a hold-all for all kinds of crap. I can see the surface of it again which is nice. I’m looking at a couple of sewing projects I have on there now, including all the sea rope I have waiting, and I might actually feel inspired enough to do something.

I sanded and smoothed my latest clay projects. I tackled my underwear drawer. I baked shortbread cookies. I listened to 80s music. I watched Netflix shows on tiny houses, re-decorating and organising.

But mainly what was on my mind was Lainee…

Since the day I got her, Lainee has had growths in her teats all down one side. One of them was quite big and hard. When I questioned the vet as to why they weren’t removed when she was spayed (I thought that would have made sense) he said it was too much to put her through at the time most likely… I don’t know. Maybe it was.

Anyway, the vet said they had to be removed but her teeth were the first thing I opted to have done as she looked like she had a sore mouth and had really bad breath. At the time she had 6 or 8 teeth removed. The growths weren’t bothering her, they weren’t growing and there’s a 50-50% chance of them being benign, so no rush to remove them…

Last weekend I noticed the biggest of the growths had changed shape and seemed a bit bigger. Its now become quite important to remove them. So I took her to the vet quickly.

The vet said, yes, the whole line of mammary glands need to be removed on that side as there are growths all along. I knew that. I googled it. She took blood to check on her overall health before going under so I’m waiting on results of that. And she said she needed an xray of her chest to make sure nothing has spread (!). And she said Lainee has a heart murmur.

I’m sure she told me that last time, but maybe it was ‘no big deal’ as they didn’t bring that up as a reason to not do surgery on her so I must have forgotten it. Maybe the murmur has gotten worse?

Apparently that on its own isn’t a reason to not do surgery, but its something that concerns her and she recommends that after we do the tests, I may have to take Lainee to a specialist in Athens for the surgery.

Now, obviously I want the best for Lainee. For sure. But I also don’t really want to take her to Athens. Its a bad time with Christmas for one thing. There’s the lockdown for another… I’d have to wait till they lift lockdown mid to late January…

Lainee is 11.5 years old now. So doing the surgery sooner than later is the way to go.

I’ve booked her in to another vet next week, the only one that has an xray machine on Paros, and asked that I see both vets in that practice for a second opinion. If they’re happy to do the surgery, then I will have her done there as soon as possible. I want my girl to live a long and healthy life.

Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile I took Eric with me to the vet and got more worming treatements and his first vaccination against cat flu and whatever else it is… I’ve never had a cat before so I’m not up on that stuff.

Eric is still sweet but he’s also crazy. He plays like mad in his cat ‘play station’, then runs like he’s being chased around the house, bouncing off walls almost. Then suddenly he’ll collapse and want cuddles. That’s my favourite part.

I ordered him some acrylic nail caps but by the time they arrive Eric will probably be an old man as I could only find them from China. Till then I have to trim his nails often. Ugh. Guess its good for him to learn to put up with stuff like that.

He and Lainee are getting along fine. Lainee is happy to see him when we get home though she’s still not thrilled if he wants to play with her. Eric has learned not to try and eat her food. She’s pretty strict about that!

That’s our life.

z

kitten playland – lockdown 2 day 21

Today was a busy day. Very busy. I had a ton of things to do… none of them creative.

But after visiting to supermarket I went through their bins and got a few small cardboard boxes to make Eric a kitty playland.

I used 5 small boxes and an extra large coffee cup to create this monstrosity, now sitting in the middle of my living room.

Lainee was a bit envious. I never made her a playland… (its ok Lainee, Eric doesn’t get to sleep on my bed!)

Ok, so its not pretty, and its small, got small doors and crawl spaces, plus slots for little nails to poke out of. The boxes interconnect with little doors leading through one to the other, side to side and up and down. I hope he likes it.

It still needs a few things. I could only find one bit of crinkly stiff plastic that I hung off one side. Eric approves of that. I plan to add more. I need some small toys attached with string or ribbon, plus something bouncy and dangly on wire. That ought to get his attention. For now he’s only barely explored it.

Like I said, not very creative today, but at least I got this done.

I’ve been giving thought to my next dog sculpture though and have some ideas. Who knows, I might start tomorrow. I have some air dry clay bowls to finish before I make more, so plan to work on them tomorrow too.

I PLAN to…

z

fish door – lockdown 2 day 20

No, I’m not losing my mind. (Yet.)

Its not a door for fish to come and go, as in ‘dog door’… Its a door with fish painted on it!

I mentioned a while ago that my cousin wanted some fish painted on his front door and I finished it yesterday.

Given that I normally work with watercolours and pastels, its always a challenge for me to work in acrylics. I need to put in the time to work with them in a dedicated way in order to conquere them. I’ve used acrylics many tmes over the years, but never feel as comfortable with them as I do with other mediums.

Anyway, here is the door before:

And in progress:

And here are the fish in closeup. Again, not the best pics. Man, I really gotta get on top of the fuzzy image problem…

Once again, I have a kitten in my lap as I write. He doesn’t ask to be in my lap, he simply climbs up my legs. That’s ok if he climbs up to play gently with my bracelets or the ties on my hoodie, but if he gets rough and bites or scratches I’ve been picking him up by the scruff and just plonking him on the floor. I think he’s learning… Mostly he just wants hugs.

He’s getting peskier as he gets more comfortable and grows. He’s now started exploring the ‘upper levels’ of the house. Yesterday he climbed onto the small cabinet in the bathroom and broke a glass holding some items. This morning when I went outside to water the plants I came in to find him on the sewing table. UGH.

This is what I dislike about cats.

Last night I started looking at ideas on how to make him a scratching post/cat tree sort of thing that will look nice, not take up too much room and I can make myself using things I can find. But where to put it? The tiny hallway space outside the bathroom is already tagged to hold a cabinet I plan to make (THIS YEAR) to hold linen and towels above and shoes below. I guess I could add a couple of shelves on the side which he can climb up to sleep…

I dunno.

Eventually he’ll grow into a big, hopefully lazy, quiet cat. But till then I have to deal with the crazy kitten phase… I hope my stuff survives.

Maybe I need to get a large container and start putting things away, wrapped and safe till I can have an exhibition…

Good thoughts.

z

its cats vs dogs – lockdown 2 day 18

Above is a preview of things to come… drying on my stove top. Cause I never cook. Couldn’t even if I wanted to: there are things drying on there (and in the oven)!

Today was a very productive day. It started with grooming Lainee and kept going, no lazy time today! I spent the whole day working on scuptures and playing with clay and loved it. I have about 8 things drying right now and will be posting them soon. I have to do something with the clay I bought otherwise I’m just wasting money and hoarding supplies.

Meanwhile, Eric helped by sitting on my lap and inspecting everything I did. He decided he loves my work apron and is constantly crawling up INSIDE it. Its good when he climbs up to the top and sits there, looking out. Its a safe spot, out of the way of clay hands and less risk of falling when I get up and move around.

Here he is below with a part of one of my sculptures. He obviously thinks its his toy.

No new pics of Lainee in her new hairdo, but here are a couple of photos of my uncles’ dogs.

Spitha
Rosie

I see these guys almost every day when I go to my uncle’s to spend time with mom. Its actually really nice to go there for coffee in the morning and chat with the family surrounded dogs.

Which reminds me, my cousin is waiting for me to do some more painting in his house… oops. totally forgot about that… Better get onto it tomorrow! Seems like the day is panning out busier than previously expected.

No rest for the wicked they say.

I must be very bad!

z