hot and i’m not talking about the weather

A wet Lainee as relief from the heat.

I really am about to explode. My patience has worn beyond thin and with this heat, I’m warning you, I take no responsibility for my actions.

The weekend at Artemis was ok, at least there were three of us there to share the care of Aunt 1, and it wasn’t quite so hot as Athens. Back here though… its back to the same old grind. I settle Aunt 1 in, take my stuff upstairs, take Lainee for a walk and come back to find she’s been out on the street calling that she’s been abandoned cause I didn’t answer the house phone.

I spent most of today on the phone. Mom and I agreed to put Aunt 1 in a nursing home not far out of Athens, at least till she is accepted into the nursing home on Paros. The two I singled out in the Athens area (from friend recommendations) said they would take her without having to provide everything from her birth certifcate, her tax returns, health reports and shoe size. The one we chose wants us to do a COVID19 test before they take her. Fair enough.

I asked where I could call to get the test done, ‘look it up’… sure. Ok. I figured I’d ask her doctor when I speak to him.

I had an appointment for a call from her doctor this afternoon. I’d gotten all the tests done last week – after another phone appointment where I told him what the nursing home wanted and he said he’d call today. I figured he’d call to make another appointment to take her in or for me to take in the results. He did NOT say, bring the results in for me to see them prior to the call. I guess he thought that was understood. But I’m not greek enough to know that… so he called today and told me that I should have taken in the results and now we have another phone date on thursday morning. This is how it goes and I’ll still be stuck in this shit of a life for another 6 months at this rate!

When I asked him where would I get the COVID19 test done he said I’d need to call the government health line or whatever its called. Which I did. They don’t do tests on healthy people. They have teams that go out to places to do tests when people are sick or have been in contact with others who are sick. Great. Who can I call to get a test done privately? He didn’t know.

So I call the nursing home again. They only know one place I can call, its outside Athens of course. Near the nursing home. Wonderful.

So now I’m scouring the internet to find where I can do the test at great cost.

Meanwhile, I’m running around in the heat taking stuff upstairs, downstairs, doing laundry, getting meals and medication for Aunt 1 hanging out and bringing in washing, making calls that go in circles without achieving anything, and I get a call from Aunt 1 to go turn on her air conditioner. I tell her I’m getting the clothes off the line for mom and will be right down when I hear commotion downstairs. She’s outside calling some guys in off the steet to turn it on for her!

If you hear about some crazy woman in Greece who killed an elderly woman before driving her car through a building killing dozens of people it’ll be me.

For the predictable future I’ll be called downstairs every 5 minutes to adjust the air conditioner cause its too cold or too hot, turn it off, turn it back on.

I really don’t know how much more of this I can take. I’m already taking pills in order to relax enough to sleep at night. I have people waiting for me to do their poor dogs on Paros as they’re suffering from the heat just like Lainee is here. I want my life back.

I know life will never be the same again. I will always be the one responsible for my aunt and my mother from now on, but I just can’t take this stress much longer. I love my mother, but when I’m running up and down stairs and she says ‘don’t take long cause I want us to eat together cause I’m tired and want to rest’ I just snap.. Eat! Don’t wait. I don’t need that pressure as well.

I am not a good person.

At least you got a cute pict

z

paros day 42: keeping busy

That’s Cinnamon. Cino to his friends. A lab x chow. The sweetest natured dog ever. Very lab looking once he’s clipped but he has a blue tongue. He and Lainee had a nice catch up. He’s so loving and sweet, didn’t want us to go so he came to the car to say one last goodbye. Lainee is a bit too much of a lady to make such brash exhibitions of emotion. She sat back and acknowledged his love and just accepted it gracefully.

Meanwhile I’m still watching Homeland. Halfway through Season 3 at the moment. It really is keeping me quite on the edge of the couch. I start watching in the evenings when I rest and eat dinner and end up watching way beyond what I would have planned as my bedtime. Then I get up a little later than planned the next morning. Great show. I recommend it.

So, what did I do on day 42? After messing about with my Dremel Moto-Saw (a Christmas present from Wayne a few years ago*) and not being able to find the clamps or blades I know I have, ordering new blades from a store in Athens and finally getting them, I took it to a friend’s workshop and used some of his scrap plywood to cut out shapes.

I cut out heaps of hearts, fish and starfish and began sanding them with different grit sandpaper to give them a nice finish. I did that for a few hours and got tired, my left hand was sore from clamping the bits to sand and my back was aching. I gave it up and came home to nap.

I love this greek habit of napping in the afternoon… I don’t always do it, most of the time I work straight through the day, but its nice to know that if I’m tired I can always lie down and nap and no one will think its strange!

These shapes are mainly being made to decorate the wreaths I’m making for my cousin’s rental units. She bought them and some ribbon before lockdown began, planning to open at Easter. I did finish two of the large wreaths for her for the units she had booked, but the rest are still sitting on my couch waiting to be worked on.

Now I have more time to finish them but neither of us has money to spare for decorations so I have to make them myself. Not that its a problem. Its more hand made that way, not just a matter of assembling bought odds and ends. They’ll be way more unique.

More work for me of course. But hey, what else have I got to do?

Well… a commissioned portrait for one. Tomorrow is the day I start on that. I have to. I have a deadline on that one. Then in the afternoon I’ll sit outside in the gorgeous weather and sand some more. Probably.

No wonder I never have nice nails like all the greek women!

z

*Power tools. Tools in general. Best gifts ever. Hint hint.

paros day 38: dog portraits

I got a message from my friend in Athens this morning. Winston has arrived and is making himself comfortable in her home till he can take up his position as guard in her tattoo parlour.

Today I thought I’d share some dog portraits I just finished. These are an order from another friend. Her dogs. And so darn cute too!

This little teddy bear face is my favourite.

I worked from photos sent in Messenger but that’s fine for me (and cheaper than buying printer ink!). I just set the tablet up on my table and work direct from the image on that.

I’m very pleased with them. Hope she is too.

Meanwhile today has been a rather odd day. I watched some comedy on YouTube while I painted, did some washing, began working on another podcast and put some chicken in the oven to roast.

That last one is rather tricky as I’m not a roasting kind of gal… I’m not particularly good at it. I can cook, I can bake, but roasting seems to get the best of me most of the time. I guess I’ll see if it worked this time very soon. It smells pretty good. Though perhaps a bit heavy on the garlic… Eh. I’m not kissing anyone these days!

My Netflix viewing has now moved on to Money Heist Season 4. Love that show, its really gripping. And I love the code names. Of course I can’t watch it and work at the same time as I need to read subtitles (hence its music or comedy today), but I’m eager to get back to it tonight.

Meanwhile we haven’t taken any long walks today cause I’ve been working, but its windy again outside. We get a couple of good days and back to being blown about for a couple more at this time of year. The simple task of walking the rubbish down to the bins is an exercise in gravity vs wind resistance. Lainee doesn’t enjoy it that much. Especially when she was trying to poop…

I guess I better go check on the chicken… and work on the podcast some more.

z

paros day 6: time flies

Today was a great day. Lainee and I walked over to my uncle’s house to do some work, only to find I’d forgotten to take my adaptor so couldn’t do anything requiring electricity. Cause of course all my power tools still have Australian plugs on them! So no progress on the curtain rod today.

Still, I did some hand sanding and managed to get another coat on the things I started painting so I’ll have something to share soon.

Lainee and I took the scenic route there and back, along the beach and over the hill. On the way Lainee made a new friend. You can see part of golden retriever cross, Babi, as he digs his way to the other side of Paros. Lainee is too much of a lady to dig on the beach. (Though apparently not to much of a lady to roll in rotting meat…)

Today there seemed to be some lingering aroma around the couch so I’ve washed the throws. I think its fixed the problem.

Meanwhile I brought home the gap filler I couldn’t find yesterday and began working on the chewed up table legs. It’ll need at least one more go to fill in the chewed bits so the legs look normal again… We’ll see how that goes.

The weather was perfect this afternoon, no longer windy and it was beautiful out so Lainee and I went for another long walk. Its that time of year when I miss having a garden to watch come to life…

My potted plants are starting to get new shoots which pleases me. I’m getting photo updates of my seedlings and they seem to be doing well. Fingers crossed on those. Hopefully I’ll get them home soon and have flowers around me again.

Oh, and I didn’t burn the spanakopita last night! Did I mention I put in a ton of cheese (cottage cheese, feta, grated cheese) and thought it might be too cheesy. Turns out you can never have too much cheese. I could have put in more. I think it needed parmesan, something I always had in the fridge in Australia. (Put it on the shopping list.)

Other than that, not much to share… Its already 9.30pm. Time flies when you’re having fun apparently. Its too late to start anything new (project wise) so I’m watching Netflix. I’m on The Last Kingdom now. At least I’m catching up with my TV viewing…

How is your lockdown going?

z

paros day 5: making do

Who knew my survival kit needed to include screws and nails of all sizes, hinges, dowells, brackets, paint, and a heap of other hardware supplies?

Well I do. Now.

Today I began my ‘make do’ and ‘make it work’ way of doing things.

I started fixing up a small side table thingy as my new bedside table, gave about 5 things I’m working on a light sand where needed and a first coat of paint*.

I also sorted through the rubbish pile at my uncle’s house for any timber (that hadn’t rotted and didn’t have termites) that I might be able to use to make the things I see in my head. I searched my easy to reach boxes for stuff I can’t find which I knew I had yesterday or the day before and ‘just put in a safe spot’ for later.

For instance, I’ve had some hefty gap filler since about this time last year – bought to fix the small table a friend gave me which had been attacked by her dog and his big teeth. I’ve been putting that thing in ‘safe spots’ for a year now. Today I decided to finally start on the table and guess what? Gap filler nowhere to be seen. I now have a small table upside down in the middle of the living room, waiting for me to find the filler.

Sigh. Guess I should have found the gap filler before flipping the table, huh?

I finished the doily curtain last night but still need to figure out how to hang it. Amongst the rubbish I found a broomstick I can use as a curtain rod, so I can tick that off the list. Now to make the brackets… I have some timber offcuts I was going to use for them. But…

My foraging was interrupted when Lainee and Spitha (my uncle’s dog) found something rotten and putrid to roll in. EEWWW. They both stank to high heaven and were so proud of themselves. I had to give both of them a bath with cold water just so I could stand being near them.

Gag.

Lainee is going to have another proper bath soon as the water heats up. Yes, cause this is the land of no-permanently-available-hot-water. We have to plan our showers here, at least 20min beforehand and turn on the boiler. And whatever you do, don’t let mom catch you forgetting to turn that thing off! I put mine on soon as we got home, after covering the couch with throws I can put in the wash in case there is leftover dead thing miasma lingering on Lainee…

Plan for the rest of the day: Wash Lainee. Make spanakopita. Don’t burn spanakopita.

Piece of cake.

Ah its all fun and games here on Paros!

z

dogs dogs and more dogs!

I finally got to a dog show in Greece! I was lucky to be in Athens when there was a dog show (a weekend of shows to be exact) in Lamia – about a 2 hour drive from Athens.

I joined a friend who breeds and shows toy poodles, we got a place on airbnb and set off with two of her dogs and Lainee.

Naturally, as it goes with all dog shows away, we didn’t really see the town, we spent all day at the show and went out in the evening to have dinner. So I can say I got a glimpse of Lamia nightlife but otherwise saw only the inside of the expo centre.

My friend’s dogs are gorgeous. She showed her black adult male and a silver veteran. We also met up with a lovely young lady from Switzerland and her first show dog, an apricot dwarf. I was thrilled to be able to groom her boy and to brush up topknots on all three.

Heaven… being back to poodle coats, even in mini versions!

I’ve missed showing. Not so much the show itself, but the dogs, the smell of hairspray, the hair… did I mention the hair? I love doing up topknots and scissoring and presenting a poodle for the ring.

I got the chance to go into the ring of course, which was lovely. Especially when the veteran girlie I handled went so well and got 3rd veteran in show! Lovely! Not to mention when the boys both got BOB in each show they entered!

Of course, I was also reminded of all the things I dislike about showing. The nerves before going in the ring. The backstabbing and politics of the show world… So no, I don’t think I’ll be back in the ring any time soon. Not on a regular basis and not with my own dogs… For one thing there’s the fact that I live on an island so getting to a show has the added expense of travel to the mainland. For another, its costly to enter shows and keep dogs in coat. Right now I’m still struggling to make ends meet on my own with one small dog to feed.

Still, I loved seeing all the dog breeds and spending time presenting poodles and with other poodle lovers. I confess I have absolutely no understanding of how showing and points work in Greece (under FCI) but it was extremely interesting to meet breeds which we don’t know of in Australia, let alone to meet the greek breeds I never knew existed.

I just love dogs of all shapes and sizes so here are some gratuitous dog photos. Enjoy.

A caucasian shepherd dog: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_Shepherd_Dog
A biewer yorkshire terrier… never heard of this before but SO pretty: http://www.yorkieinfocenter.com/biewer-yorkshire-terrier
A greek shepherd, a breed I’d never heard of before: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Shepherd

the pitter patter of little feet

This is Lainee. Her name is actually Lady but I’ve always liked the name Lainee and its so close to Lady… New life, new name, you know?

Lainee was given to me by a friend in Holland. I so missed having a poodle in my life and I miss Montana and Romeo so much… Little Lainee is helping me fill that gap.

She’s the sweetest little girl. 10 years old and so quiet and accepting on the huge changes in her life. Over the last two days she’s left the only home she’s known, been on busses, trams, trains, an airplane and now a ferry.

Today she’ll be in the second home since I got her, first mom’s house in Athens, next the house I’m staying in on Paros, and later (once I’m actually in the house I’m buying) she’ll move yet again.

In a weird way, Lainee is so much like my heart dog, Billybear. Its uncanny how much she looks like him. Same size, same colour even though she’s apricot (or was) and Billy was silver beige with very dark brown pigment.

I love having her, but its funny how quickly you get unused to having a dog. Or at least not having a yard when you have a dog. All the walks I have to take so she can pee or poop. We still haven’t worked out our routines and I don’t yet speak her language so I’m not sure what she’s trying to tell me a lot of the time. However when she grabs her lead I figure she needs to go out!

The quick trip to Holland was great. I have always loved Holland and every time I go there I feel like I could so easily live there.

Lainee’s neighbours included a miniature horse.

Have you ever seen a black and white swan? How beautiful.

Brunch in Amsterdam: cinnamon pancake with raisins and banana. Yum.

So… about the house… when will I move in you might ask… Everyone does. No one knows. Not even God at this stage. I keep following up, asking my lawyer and the agent, but apparently there is still paperwork to find, sort and submit. Really… You have no idea how not organised things are in Greece.

You know how things work in Australia? Well, here is nothing like that! In Australia I’d make an offer on a place with a written contract, the sellers would haggle, we’d settle on a price, I’d put down a deposit which would be kept in trust, we’d have a conditional contract with a time limit on the various aspects included in the contract (ie finance, building inspection, whatever) and once those deadlines were reached it would be unconditional and I’d have a settlement date I would work towards.

Here its done without a written offer or contract, without the conditions, without a settlement date. You basically say you want to buy a place then leave it in the hands of the universe. If I hadn’t pushed to put a deposit on it I would still not be sure the sale is going through.

Anyway, I’m so eager to get into my own place. To start nesting as it were. I’ve already bought some stuff for the new place, already raided mom’s cupboards for stuff I’ll need (she has an entire house of things I can take she says). I’ve filled bags with some pots and pans, some mugs, loads of NEW Tupperware she bought in the 70s… and cutlery. So I’m taking a few things to save myself some money while stocking up the new place.

When I get into the new place…

Cause as I said, NO ONE knows when I’ll get in there.

At least things are moving. I have a place to stay for now. I have a job. A car. And a poodle. All I need now is a home and that’s on its way…

z

DIY grooming bench (the ugly bench finished)

I shared the ugly bench I made for drying dogs the other day. Its a bit rough and ready, made from leftover bits of timber and offcuts I had lying around, but its strong and sturdy and fits perfectly where I wanted it.

bench1

The bench stands in a corner opposite my hydrobath and its my drying area. It holds a small dog crate for cage drying small dogs, and fits over my show trolley for drying larger dogs. I stash my stand dryer in front, with two of its legs under the trolley, and my blaster sits on the floor in front of the wall my poodles destroyed going after some critter.

bench2

That’s what it looked like when I finished it. The top was thick MDF, not water proof and thus not ideal as a drying bench.

This is what it looks like now:

bench4

bench5

I visited the hardware store and bought some ribbed rubber matting. I bought enough in length to turn over the ends on either side, and had planned to cut the width off to simply turn over the sides as well.

However, when I laid it on top of the bench I thought “Hey… this is perfect!” By not cutting it and simply rolling it up the wall and fixing it onto the plasterboard with screws, I’ve successfully waterproofed the wall as well! Whoo-hoo!

My plan is to eventually reline all the walls in my washing/drying room using anything I can find that’s cheap (or preferably FREE) so it won’t look as tacky. Till then I’ve got myself a totally non-slip, waterproof, sturdy drying bench I don’t get a sore back drying dogs on!

I’m on a roll!

z

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the ugly bench

I did warn you. It ain’t pretty.

bench1

I’m not a builder. I’m not a furniture maker. I’m a furniture recycler, re-maker, re-configurer. I take things someone else made and change them. I don’t often make things from scratch.

And here’s the reason why:

bench2

I’m not very good at it. Sure, I can make things, but they’re never quite… right.

They might not be stable enough. Or quite the right size. Or not quite straight.

bench3

A little dog tries out the drying cage. I think he approves of my handiwork though he wishes he was somewhere else.

At least I get good marks for trying, right? Not to mention, I actually measured right and the trolley fits underneath it perfectly!

The drying bench is made out of 2 different size hardwood posts ‘borrowed’ from Wayne’s stash as legs, thick MDF from our kitchen makeover as the top, small size treated pine timber bought by me in the wrong size for something a few months ago, and leftover bits of pine lining from the grooming room reno as side braces.

Its 100% recycled.

Today I bought some rubber non-slip ribbed matting which will sit on top to make it waterproof and safe for dogs. I’ve already used it a few times and its a great height and size.

I’m happy.

P.S. If you noticed the ‘wall’ behind it, don’t worry. I groom in a shed (aka the ‘casita’) which houses my grooming room, my workshop, our feed room, tack room and what passes as a laundry. It needs work. And that’s an understatement.

 

z

laundry powder tin to dog food container

Sharing a quickie this morning. Lately it seems my life is a series of routine chores, work and making things. Which is great. Except that all day, while outside in the garden, in the workshop or in the grooming room, I’m looking forward to the evening, after the chores are done, I’ve showered and had dinner, when I plan to spend some time doing inside craft type projects.
However reality is so rude. At the end of the day, once its all done and I’m inside, in clean clothes and should be looking at what to do next I find myself deflating like a balloon with a pin hole. First I sit on the couch to eat dinner while watching a bit of TV (and yeah, I know that’d bad for digestion, tell that to my butt which you can land a 747 on) and then, without even realising it, dinner is finished and its 2 hours later and I haven’t stirred.
Last night was different. Mainly cause I hadn’t worked all day. I’d been a social butterfly, running around the countryside doing errands and visiting friends. So last night, once the animals were fed and the car unloaded, I still had energy. Not a lot, but some. So I did a small project I’d been thinking about doing for a LONG time.
I converted a plain old Kmart laundry powder tin into a dog food container.
I’ve had this in the corner of the kitchen for at least a couple of years now, with the Laundry side to the wall. I wanted to do something to make it fit into the kitchen better, plus to label it as a dry dog food container.
I did some googling and found a few dog food ads I liked the look of. I had to find one big enough to fit over the lettering and which would look good in the kitchen. I loved this one, but I had to cut the bottom off as it was too long. That’s ok, the ad works without the details at the bottom.
Using Modpodge I stuck it to the front of the tin, and done!
How good is it to finish one small project that’s been in the back of my mind for years? 
Its like one of those things you nag your partner about for years, then, when he finally does it, you say ‘Well, that wasn’t so hard, was it?’ Meaning he didn’t have to avoid it off for so long and force you to turn into a nagging fishwife. Then you duck.
So here it is – in the corner of the kitchen, next to the free feeding bowl.
And here’s the beauty of ruthless creative cropping. Cause this is what the rest of the kitchen looks like at the moment.
The surfaces were clean about a week ago. I swear. Then I began to put project bits on them for things I meant to work on ‘tonight’… and never did obviously. Instead I chose to do something completely different. But hey. At least I did something. Maybe that will lead to more creative evenings… I can hope.
You may notice the yellow frying pans on the pot rack. Lovely in a minty green kitchen. They were Wayne’s purchase. When he goes away I knock down walls, pull out cupboards and carpets and swap rooms. When I go away he buys kitchen appliances and frying pans.
Oh well. At least now when you look that way you get the yellow dog food ad which sort of ties in with the frying pans. Which are great stone non stick pans on the inside, but the outside… ugh.
So, how much better does the cropped version look? 
It makes me look like a good housekeeper. 
Keeping the illusion alive.
z

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