Ink painting: Stripey cat

I’ve been having a wonderful time with my inks lately, in the evenings while Poppy sleeps. I’ve restocked my Etsy shop with all the prints I’d sold out of over the past few months, and been happily painting and getting ink on my fingers again. This wonderful stripey cat  turned up quiet without any plan the other night, and tickled my fancy. It feels incredibly good to be combining art  and motherhood. I am so happy at the moment. ❤

Dogs are great patients

Zoe is still living her new life as a mobile, destructive lamp. The vet dressed her leg a week ago, but didn’t tape down the wound dressing under the bandages, so after a few days everything had moved around, and I had to soak off bandages that were glued into the scab and redress it all. Fortunately a friend took me to a pet first aid class a couple of years ago so I have a fully stocked pet first aid kit. Her wound was healing brilliantly until a few nights later when she discovered that she could with much effort, curl up in just the right way to lift her cone over her injured leg. Overnight, she chewed off and ate the dressing. Glorious!

As it was healed to a scab I decided to trial leaving it unbandaged and removed her cone. That worked well until she was unsupervised at one point, when she chewed off the scab and licked open the wound again. Argh! She’s always been difficult at letting things heal, and I have numbing ointments and so on from the vet from previous mild injuries in mostly futile efforts to get her past the ‘it’s almost healed so it’s itchy’ stage that inevitably sets us back. The only thing that reliably works is stopping her access to whatever is trying to heal, if at all possible. She is wily.

So I cleaned and sterilised and redressed her leg with a lot more sticky plaster over everything to keep it in place, and put her cone back on. We all got home from a birthday party around 11pm to discover that somehow she had got her cone off, chewed it up a bit, and had another go at her leg. The sticky plaster had slowed her down quite a bit and she’d not been able to get into the actual wound. Win!

Not so much. She had been able to tear off the upper end of the dressing, and when she couldn’t get any more off she instead dragged her leg along the ground repeatedly until the dressing filled with dirt, opening the wound again and stuffing it full of dirt too! Argh!

I did not kill her on the spot. I am a good dog owner. I called her a lot of names in a mostly calm tone of voice, cut off the dressing, cleaned every last scrap of dirt out of the wound without throwing up, irrigated, disinfected again, redressed with extra sticking plaster, and stuck her back in her cone a little tighter. So far so good.

Some days I think owning a bull terrier cross is good practice for parenting.

Hard work and lots of love

Today was madcap. Things have been moving so fast lately with an extra person in the house and all the scrambling to adjust and adapt that come with suddenly caring for a teen. We are working hard to keep stress levels as low as we can, which means riding out big stress spikes for all of us every few days as the wheels fall off something, and then coming back down to a calmer space in which everyone can think, plan, and more importantly – digest food and get to sleep! I feel really proud of us because I think we’re doing really well at this. Some of those skills I’ve worked so hard on about navigating personal crisis seem to be working well for helping our family deal with the ups and downs too.

Today, Zoe had a gash on her leg that looked bad enough to possibly need stitches, Rose and I dropped our van in at the mechanic to have the radiator replaced and got home in our little car only to have it die. A friend kindly came over so we could get Zoe to the vet using their car, we cancelled what we could for the day, sorted out dinner and went off to an important appointment together after school. On collecting the van we discovered that replacing the radiator seems to have wrecked the air conditioning – something we were warned might happen due to some damage probably caused by a front end impact in the van for a previous owner…

Zoe got away fairly lightly with a bandage, cone of shame, and meds. We’re trying to arrange a tow for the car that’s not running at all and cancelling non essential appointments for the next few days of hot weather. At various times today we got heat fried, overwhelmed by the costs, teary and tired, and worried about the baby. It was really hard! But we’ve spent this evening in front of the air conditioner with dinner and ice cream. Homework is happening, there have been board games and hugs. I’ve written a list of the most urgent things we need to get done over the next few days. Zoe has taken her meds. Everything is okay again. Tired, a bit tattered around the edge maybe, but okay.

On the upside, this pregnancy has really started whizzing by! We’re up to 17 weeks now! That’s amazing. I’ve gone from knowing exactly how many weeks and days I am all the time to missing whole weeks while I’m focused elsewhere. (Rose however, still knows exactly what day we’re up to and what size the baby is all the time) I’ve also stopped worrying about how we’re going to cope with a baby and if I’m going to be an okay parent and all the terribly consuming first parent anxieties that felt so overwhelming only a month ago… It’s overwhelming but it’s also wonderful, delightful, deeply moving. Our tribe has such amazing people in it and I love each of them. Opening our home to someone means they are very special to us, very loved and trusted to be safe and bring their own light, their own heart into our family. We are enriched and fortunate! Amazing and precious experiences are unfolding. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not very worth it. ❤

Fuzzballs in boxes

I’m curled up in bed covered in hives and trying not to claw any more skin from my body. Joy! Today I let a woman stick a bunch of pins in my legs and didn’t run away screaming although I did sweat a lot. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve been through, but I certainly wouldn’t describe it as relaxing either.

I also cooked what I think is the least edible meal I’ve ever made. My sister is recovering from mouth surgery and I’ve been making her soups and mash. Spinach and feta soup is apparently an expensive exercise in making something to fertilise the garden with. Grrrrrr.

Come on antihistamines, do your thing. Heartburn is giving me a bit of gyp too. I’m alone in the house tonight, Rose is off babysitting. Well, by alone I mean there’s two dogs and three cats here. My sisters cat Ceilidh and dog Barloc are staying over for a bit. Two of the cats are flanking me on the bed. One is sulking after going for a nap in my potato cupboard and getting trapped for a couple of hours until I could work out where they were. The dogs are sleeping after going mental earlier when the cricket or whoever set off a bunch of fireworks.

Here’s Zoe, Barloc, and Ceilidh hanging out in my couch:


The cats are doing well since I realised they were squabbling over prime window positions and the best boxes for sitting in. So I’ve rearranged the window areas and created a number of cat boxes for them. It’s been an effective solution and they’ve been getting along well since. My home now usually sports at least one box occupied by a cat at all times:


My sister will be moving into her now house within a couple of weeks and taking her fuzzballs with her. It’s going to be spacious and quiet around here by comparison! I might even get some writing done. 😉

Sorry about the thunder

Most of the winter Rose and I have been cleaning our clothes at a local laundromat and using the dryers rather than hanging them out. It’s expensive and time consuming but as we don’t have a washing machine hooked up at home, necessary. Last night I went to try and set our washing machine up in our back yard, but it was completely buried under boxes in the shed – several more hours work than I had time for. So my Mum took our dirty laundry home to clean at her place. She would hang it out to dry and I’d pick it up today around 3pm.

Cue the first rain we’ve had in weeks, ha ha. Yup, clearly our fault! So it’s 4am and I’m sleeping on the couch because there’s thunder and Zoe panics. I tried music and a light on first, but apparently the only way we’re not all going to die is if she’s curled up on my legs. The mad black and white cat Sars has also decided he doesn’t want to sleep on the porch tonight anymore so he’s here too. Rose has a job interview tomorrow so she needs her sleep. I got up to make up the couch to sleep on and Rose murmers to me “you’ll make a good Mum”. Yeah, listening to and meeting the needs – good skills to have. I’m working on it. Sweet dreams all.


Zoe is all grown up

She recently turned 3! That’s about 28 in dog years for a medium size dog like her. She is SO much better than she was as a puppy… never again do I want a puppy! I’m so glad we have her. She’s still a pain around the cats and full of beans but we can hang washing on the line and she doesn’t tear it off. She doesn’t chew shoes. Or the couch. She’s loyal and very desperately loving and sweet. She also makes us feel very safe. So glad she’s part of the family. Happy birthday Zoe!

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How to tell it’s getting cold at night


Our three cats. Sarsaparilla hates sleeping indoors about as much as he hates Bebe. Sars is the black chap on the left, Bebe has the laser eyes.


Tonks is helping me write my book.

College is over for the term! I’m on a two week break. I have a fair bit of homework to do but I’m taking a couple of days off first. Saw my doctor today who was not fazed by depression or suicidal feelings, considered them all to be perfectly normal grief and trauma reactions, and that the fact that Rose and I are getting dressed and leaving the house most days and talking about Tamlorn are all really good signs. Her biggest concern was for us not to rush through it all but go at our own pace, as delayed grief is complicated. She didn’t mind calling them a baby either, and made it clear she considers Rose and I to be mothers. Good doctors are a blessing.

Moving with pets

My unit now has two people, three cats, and a dog calling it home. The new addition is a cat, Bebe, who had been living in the bedroom. The dog, Zoe, had worked out there’s a new vary in the bedroom and now spends every possible moment waiting by the bedroom door, nose pressed to the gap beneath, going for a chance to chase the new cat. She is ridiculously unmanageable as a result, despite lots of walks this week she’s full of manic energy and highly disobedient. Her entire brain is simply consumed by the excitement of a new cat. She’s frankly like an alcoholic living next to a pub.

The cats have been sneakier. Tonks stealthy steals all Bebe’s food despite having a full bowl of exactly the same food. Because obviously food belonging to the new cat tastes far better. Sarsaparilla growls at her through the window. But by far their greatest achievement to date has been the other night when both of them decided to sleep outside so we left the bedroom door open to give Bebe the run of the house. Well, at about one in the morning we were woken by the howling of a thousand demons from the nine hells suddenly inhabiting the space beneath our bed. Sarsaparilla, it turns out, has decided that the screens on our windows are more of a suggestion that he’s only permitted to enter the house through the door. He slashed himself a new cat size opening, let Tonks in also, and the two them ganged up on Bebe beneath the bed and all hell broke out. Fun!

I am completely over moving!


Today I’m heartbroken. Family friends have been in crisis so we’ve had a lovely guest here who needed someplace safe to stay. We’ve also had to collect and arrange to be surrendered to the RSPCA two families of cats that had been left without care. Rose, myself, and four other kind cat lovers spent a couple of hours in the rain catching half wild kittens and cats, and with a police escort rescuing two tiny, malnourished, sickly kittens from a house. We’ve just taken them all to the vet. We’d love to give them homes but our cat quota is full. (please don’t offer, they’ve been surrendered now and it’s all out of my hands) So we hope like hell that once they’ve been properly feed and cared for maybe they will be among the few lucky ones who find new homes, but we’re heartbreakingly aware this is unlikely. It was the right thing to do but so hard and so sad.

We got home at about 11pm, kissed our cats, and I took off my shoes and walked Zoe out on the grass of a nearby park, through rain and sprinklers and lightening. It’s raining here in South Australia. The bush fires are going out, at last. The night is beautiful, it smells of rain and grass and eucalyptus. Two families of cats who might be dead tomorrow are in my heart. Two families of cats who will no longer be hungry or sick, no longer have two or three litters of kittens a year, some of whom always die. No more fear, no more snatching food from neighbours bins, no more pain. They deserved so much more but it’s all I have to offer. I’m sorry.

Tonks went walkabout


It’s been a crazy kind of day. Tonks went missing all night and most of today, coming home dishevelled and hungry after we door knocked the area, so we think she was shut in somewhere. I got turned down for a job I really wanted, but Rose was offered a job starting in late January! The relief is massive!

In between tears and anxiety, we’ve made gifts, shopped, and wrapped presents and visited friends. It’s nearly 2am and we’re finally in bed, ready for a huge day of baking tomorrow. We’re desperately relieved to have Tonks back, she’s getting a triple helping of cuddles tonight.

Dogs are kind of like kids

Dogs! Bull terriers are described as being like 3 year olds in a dog suit. That’s pretty accurate. Now that Zoe is more than 2, she’s moved out of her mad puppy chewing phase. This is great! I had to replace my couch twice, and she went through a lot of shoes, sheets, trousers etc. She also kept chewing up her outside water bucket. In the end I gave up and put one of my cast iron pots out there. She’s had it for a year, but as few months ago I decided it was time to reclaim it. So for two months I had both the cast iron pot, and a new plastic bucket outside for her. She didn’t chew the bucket at all. A month ago I brought my pot in, soaked and scrubbed it for a week, and all was well!

Today it reached nearly 40C. I leave Zoe with a full bucket of clean water, and a huge frozen ham hock to chew. I get home from work to find a badly heat stressed dog who races inside and drinks a litre of water immediately. TODAY of all days she has chewed her bucket into small pieces! WHY!?

So I soaked her down and she covered my house in mud. And now I’m off again running around in peak hour dropping people places. Thankful for vehicles with air conditioning. Kind of want to hug and strangle my dog. She’s certainly been a good introduction to parenting!

Toe kisses

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I’ve been waking at around 5 – 6am every morning for the past few months, which is incredibly frustrating. I’ve started using phenergan on nights when I don’t have to be very awake the next morning, which is helping although often leaving me feeling drowsy and dazed the next day. If Rose is sleeping over that night I’ll roll over and carefully snuggle up without waking her. If it’s warm or she’s already only lightly sleeping, I’ll usually gently put out a foot until we’re touching toes. The contact often reduces my anxiety about not sleeping and helps me get back to sleep.

This morning I reached out a foot and then realised Rose wasn’t sleeping over. Tonks however, was snuggled at the foot of my bed, and more than happy to kiss toes until I fell back to sleep. 🙂

Sarsaparilla online

Wednesday’s are currently my crazy day. I start the day online at 9.30am for my Cert IV in Business, and finish it at 8.30pm at College for a Drawing class. Inevitably by then I am exhausted, sick, and in awful pain and very sad that I’m not enjoying a class I would usually love. I’ve been working hard on making Tuesday evenings restful and taking time off between my classes on the Wednesday to reduce the impact. Being able to borrow a car to get to my evening class, or beg a lift from someone kind also helps. Today is extra challenging as I’d cancelled both classes expecting to be in surgery! But it’s going well so far. The morning class is over. I went for a walk to the Post Office with Zoe and a friend. I’ve received a package of items for my face painting business that must have been held up for weeks in customs – they were so delayed I was sure they’d been lost or stolen. Given that it cost $150 I’m pretty ecstatic they’ve arrived! I went for out for coffee and a chat, ordered a tablet online to replace my smartphone, and signed up the SA Writer’s Centre to see if I can get some help laying out my book ideas. I’m a little bit excited about that. I’ve got dinner sorted out, and I’m about to have a bath and a rest (nap if I’m lucky) before heading out for the evening again. The dishwasher is unpacked, and life feels more under control again.

A friend posted this cute link about cats on dating sites and I thought I’d join in. If my cat Sarsaparilla had an honest online profile, I think it would read something like this:



  • 7 Year Old Male 
  • Seeking occasional companion for warm naps 
  • Spayed 
  • Body type – fit and muscular
  • Breed – domestic shorthair
  • Hair colour – Black & White Tuxedo
  • Catnip – not interested, can’t detect it. Don’t like any cat toys at all, or cat beds, cat scratchers, and so on. Will sleep on books, newspapers, homework, keyboards, laptops, and sleeping people.

More about me: I live a peaceful life of roaming. Can’t tie me down! I come and go as I please and eat the best of the treats on offer from any family who’ll give them out. I love sleeping in the sun, separating the other neighbouring tomcat from a decent amount of his fur. When I’m super happy I purr and dribble at the same time. I can be skittish. I do not recognise my own humans if they are wearing new shoes, jumpers, or a hat I haven’t seen in a while. I loathe and avoid dogs and pretend they do not exist. All cat doors in any houses are a personal invitation. I love pigeons, rats and mice, particularly the middle bits. I leave the end bits like feet, tail, feathers, and beak, for my humans. I am adept at hiding my gifts beneath the middle of the queensize bed where they cannot be reached. I love to sit on sleeping people’s chests. If extra happy, I will paw their faces and dribble onto their necks. I’m not sure why they don’t enjoy this. I lead a simple, happy life, with the occasional dog chase over a fence to keep me in good shape. 

Seeking: You must not be clingy or nervous, or I will panic. I can mewl for 12 hours straight if I’m upset about something. I do not adjust to being kept indoors. I can be upset about something for 4 months straight without adjusting to it. I have a very small, high pitched squeak for such a large cat – you should never draw attention to this! You will allow me to enjoy my wayfaring lifestyle, and never ask for cuddles unless I initiate. You will not pick me up, you will not put me in cat boxes, you will never take me to the vet, you will not give me tablets or pastes or treatments of any kind. You should keep a towel handy to put over your lap for cuddles or I will add a complex poem in Braille punctures on your thighs. You should understand a guys need to dribble with happiness from time to time. You will not own a dog. Other cats are okay provided I am given lots of treats and a couple of months to adjust. They should be smaller than me. If you really love me, you will let me eat rats in the bed and piss on your clothes and/or curtains. As you can see, I am fairly poorly treated by my current humans who do not appreciate any of these things. They are lucky I still choose to visit.

Goodbye Kiki


There’s much sadness and heavy hearts in my world. My sister’s darling little cat Kiki was found dead a couple of days ago. A vet was unable to tell us if the cause of death was accident or intentional, only that it was a trauma, and probably mercifully quick.

Every now and then an animal comes into your life at exactly the right moment. Kiki was our cat Tonks’ sister, and she had an incredibly bright spirit, deeply loving and full of mischief. She and my sister shared a deep bond, and the shock of her passing so young and so senselessly is huge. My sister is a wonderful woman who has gone through far too much upheaval. Diligent, loyal, intelligent, fierce and gentle, she has endured much loss and disappointment. Kiki was a constant, a bright spark of warmth and life that cheered flagging spirits and made it easier to lay to rest long days and start new ones with energy. Whatever other changes were happening, there was Kiki. Curled up in bed at night, following her around the house, or riding on her shoulder. In many ways, Kiki was my sister’s home. Without her, everything is wrong, home is not home, there is no anchor holding fast. We all know it, and we’re all reeling.

We shatter apart and come together again, recognising the loss and the changes. Rose and I hold each other in the dark and whisper of her lost babies, of what it will feel like if we lose more. I remember Leanne and Amanda with an aching heart. We talk about grief, about life after death, about family. We feel the shadow of Death upon our lives, the senselessness of it, the sharpness of cut threads, the unknown timing to the ends of our stories. A cold wind blows.

We gather to bury Kiki, talk about good memories of her, honour a rare and special connection between human and animal. We wake to a new world, changed, sadder, grieving. Kiki’s body lies beneath snowdrops blooming. Life goes on, all around us, under us, over us, it hurts, and it is beautiful.



Rose and I are away again, house sitting in the hills with Zoe. It’s bliss. Yesterday friends visited for fire baked spuds and card games. I’ve spent today sleeping or reading in front of the fire. Rose is spoiling me. Last week was busy, I’m still embroiled in tax paperwork, my cert 4 in small business management started and there were some stressful emotional days. By Friday night I was teary with exhaustion and pain was making me short fused. The effort of getting out of the house, especially with the dog crate and so on for Zoe, was almost too much. But we did it, and it’s been wonderful.

I was thinking the other day how normal it’s become to be multiple. When Rose I go shopping, and I switch to a little kid in the lolly aisle, we are both so unconcerned. Mostly people don’t notice, and we don’t draw attention to ourselves. But we’re not afraid or ashamed either. Those who do see something different probably assume that I have some kind of intellectual disability or delay. I’ve long stopped being distressed by that or feeling ashamed of being seen that way. So what? In some ways, I am ‘delayed’ at that moment, by about 25 years. 😉 I’m not afraid of being thought of as disabled because I don’t think about disability the same way any more. Me switching is so normal for us, not a big deal, not a source of shame or anxiety. (I switch many times a day, and my system ages range from 5 up and cross various experiences and expressions of gender – most who don’t know me well would not be able to tell that I’ve switched – Rose usually can)

This is such a difference from the years I was terrified of someone else finding out, from my first disclosures where people reacted so badly. So different to being diagnosed with a “terrible disorder” that would prevent me ever getting work, that would ensure I spent years in and out of psychiatric facilities, that would wreak havoc on my relationships and require thousands of excruciatingly painful hours in therapy for any hope of peace or happiness. I feel like someone who was told they would never walk again who goes dancing on Saturday nights. They got it all so very wrong, and I’m so glad I didn’t listen.

So I’m different, in some ways that people can’t see, and in others that are at times visible. So what? Welcome to the world, it’s a very diverse place. I’m not a freak show, and I’m not scared of a conversation about dissociation with a checkout operator either. I am so blessed, so at peace. I don’t live like a spy in a foreign land any more, watching everything I say, always concealing some truth of my identity that would destroy everything. How much of what we put down to the ‘mental illness’ is the stress of this way of living? The loneliness of it, the chronic, grinding fear? I’ll never forget having new members to Bridges, the group for people who experienced dissociation and/or multiplicity that I ran for several years, weeping when they first attended, because it was the first time in their lives they’d met anyone else like them. I’ve been lucky to know and care for and love and learn from so many people, and so many fellow multiples over the years. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve lost a few along the way, but I’ve learned, I’ve been humbled, I’ve tried to take the lessons with me, the hard won wisdom whether through success or terrible disaster.

I feel set free from those old, dire prognosis, and I hope my work, my choices, the way I live my life, also helps to set others free. My life is not without pain, I live in chronic physical pain, I have experienced extreme emotional anguish. My story includes grief, darkness, suffering. I live with ghosts and old wounds that are very deep. I am not ‘recovered’. But I’m also not waiting to get better before I feel alive, or at peace, or hope. All lives touch pain, tragedy, disability, loss. Some more than others, yes. I don’t have a good life in spite of multiplicity or illness. I have a good life because I’m here, present in it, drinking it in, the sorrow and the joy, the pleasure of driving myself hard at work, and the bliss of a day reading by the fire. The warmth in the arms of my lover. I love and I am loved. It is my heart that is the source of my greatest pain, and my brightest happiness, and in matters of the heart I have been fortunate indeed.

For more information see articles listed on Multiplicity Links, scroll through posts in the category of Multiplicity, or explore my Network The Dissociative Initiative.

Exercise for fibromyalgia

Brrr it’s cold in Adelaide at the moment! My fibro pain is pretty horrendous as a result. I’ve taken most of the school holidays off to finish all this overdue tax paperwork and it’s certainly lost whatever novelty value it may once have had. Being patient and having the occasional tantrum about the sheer tedium.

Still working on this mindfulness/anxiety awareness process, which is helpful instead of just drowning. I’m starting to gently get more exercise happening and noticing what it does for my mood and pain levels. I know that gentle movement does help with the pain, up to a point where it then creates new pain. Tuning in and noticing those points is what I’m currently concentrating on, so i can do the right amount to be helpful and not make it all worse. Movement gets your lymphatic system going which is pretty critical and can help a lot when pain is due to things like lactic acid build up in the muscles. But I don’t find that image motivating.

Instead I’m thinking of a cold engine trying to run with no oil yet heated and thin and lubricating the parts. It’s not biologically accurate but that’s how my knees feel and it seems to be working to encourage me to walk them around the block and get them lubed up again. I keep thinking about the importance of reconditioning a body like mine – lots of small bits of exercise, gently does it.

So today I’ve woken up, let Tonks back in the bedroom where she says hello like this:


From a distance of about 2 inches. Which is why she doesn’t sleep in the bedroom, because a cat trying to sleep on your face is a challenge to a peaceful night. I’m going to have breakfast, clean the kitchen, and walk Zoe to the Post Office before sitting down to another few hours of tax. Tonight I’ve got a gig I’m hugely looking forward to at The Mill Adelaide and then I’m taking the rest of the evening off and hopefully having fun with some friends. That feels like a pretty well balanced day to me. Good luck with yours!

Baby dreams

2014-07-08 10.21.38-1It’s started… Rose and I are putting together a collection of baby things, despite not yet having a donor or everything else sorted out. I was having a cuppa and chatting to friends online this morning when a package arrived containing these gorgeous handmade clothes from Bongo Baby! Eeee! Tonks was also thrilled.

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Rose and I have both been doing so much work lately on managing our work lives and keeping a house running and looking after each other that a really lovely shift has taken place. We feel like a family right now. It’s waking up to find that Rose has rinsed the tea dishes before work, it’s baking banana bread for lunches, it’s whizzing off for a picnic dinner on the beach with Zoe… Little treats and the effort to pull together household/s that runs smoothly where everyone has clean socks and the cats get fed… It feels really beautiful. We make a great team. I’m so tremendously in love. 🙂


Zoe turned 2


April is a month of birthdays at my home – mine, Tonks, and Zoe’s all come around in this month. Zoe kicks things off, she turned 2 years old this year. What a ride! She’s hardly recognisable from the crazy puppy who drove me to despair. While she’s still bright and bouncy and loves people, she’s happy to chill on the couch while you work and sleeps inside in her crate at night with a minimum of fuss. No more chewed furniture! She’s pretty cruisy and easy going.

I was reading a book about shamanism recently which suggested that animals teach us things about life. I thought about what I’d learned from having Zoe in my life. It’s been a tough run at times. I was so overwhelmed by her and how much exercise she needed (I live in a unit) that twice I made concerted efforts to find a different good home for her. At one stage I was a mess of guilt and frustration, constantly yelling at a dog who was shredding my house, stressing my guests, and on one occasion, raced over my foot and broke my toe! I got in a behavioural consultant for help, which was a huge, huge support, Rose and I knuckled down and spent Saturday mornings at dog training, and we put a lot of effort into environmental enrichment and a better relationship. I was thinking that the thing I guess I’ve had to learn with Zoe is how to see the Zoe who is in front of me. When I took home a gorgeous little pup from the shelter I was single and lonely, looking for protection at home, looking for companionship, and after nursing Charlie for months, looking for a really healthy, strong dog. I got that dog, for sure. But as she grew up a little and my life circumstances changed with a new job and a new relationship meaning I was away from home a lot more than I had been, I found myself with a bored and lonely half puppy in full destruction mode. It was a big shift! She destroyed 2 couches, a lot of clothes and sheets, stole items from around the house (books, nail polish, socks) and buried them in the backyard, chased my cats… Some days I hated her. As she’s grown older and I’ve learned a lot and changed a lot of what I was doing, a different Zoe again has emerged. This Zoe is still not absolutely content, she’s a bit lonely and wishes she had more walks and more room to play. But she’s boisterous rather than destructive, very affectionate and protective. Sometimes it’s hard to see this Zoe because the memories of the crazy, overwhelming puppy get in the way. But she’s right here in front of me, cuddling on the couch, nudging me to let me know she needs to go to the toilet, playing with Tonks, or watching the garden through the window.  It’s a valuable lesson, to see what’s in front of me.


So, for Zoe’s birthday, she got a new chew toy which she adores, a lot of cuddles and love, and some food treats. She had a pretty good day. I love her to bits! 🙂






I’ve had a quiet week, turned down work opportunities, stayed home, and put in some major hours to make sense of my paperwork backlog. (about 3 years of business records) I haven’t been keeping proper records about my business income and expenses and it’s a big job sorting them all out. There’s a few reasons for this, one is that I’ve really struggled with phobias about money and admin that have left me very overwhelmed and muddle headed. Another is that it’s taken me this long, several courses, (including a cert 3 in home businesses), and help from an accountant before I’ve been able to set up a simple system for record keeping that suits my business. Most of the systems or advice I’ve been offered have been needlessly complex, full of terms I barely understand, and I’ve been utterly confused. I now have a physical folder in which income and expenses are printed and filed for that financial year. It’s less environmentally
friendly, which I hate, but it works visually, which is how I work. It’s easy for me to see what’s happening and check on things filed. I am using an app called invoice2go which generates my invoices, concerts them to pdf, and emails them for me much quicker than I’ve been doing manually using an excel document, and all from my phone if I wish. I have a simple sheet for income, and a different simple sheet for expenses. Generating profit and loss forms from these is child’s play. So I’m finally making progress.

I’ve been scouring the house for all those pockets of paperwork, random collections of receipts stuffed into tins, boxes, drawers, envelopes, and other ‘safe’ hidey holes. Even worse, I’ve been finding, printing, and cross referencing every previous attempt to input this data using much more complex forms. At some point I’ve scanned a couple of months worth of receipts and collated them, then lost both the original and scanned versions of the receipts. That’s giving me a headache. I’m looking forward to all this being over and moving on to running my new studio with a simple, relevant, accurate method of data collection in place. It’s going to be a huge weight off me! I have learned a hell of a lot!

So it’s happening. This is one of my biggest bogey men, a thing that has been hanging over my head for years, stressing me constantly and filing me with a chronic sense of guilt, frustration, inadequacy, and dread. I jumped into a business with enthusiastic support from people around me, but far before I was ready for this side of things, and it’s been a burden since then. I’m so glad to be finally sorting it out, facing the debts, and moving on. It’s a good feeling!

Tonks has been loving sleeping in my boxes of paper, so I accommodated and began using her box to store paper I no longer needed. This seems to be like cat nip, she migrated back to her box shortly afterwards.





Good music and good company, sure helps when doing paperwork!

Zoe says hello




It’s a bit warm here today. Zoe is chilling indoors with Rose and I, under fans. I’ve spent a lot of time home with her through these past couple of heatwaves. I’ve enjoyed it. She’s 21 months old now, and the mad puppy who chewed couches and demolished the back yard is fading into memory. She’s maturing into a really easy going dog. I love her to bits.

Her health has been fantastic and the vet was really happy with her at the annual checkup. She gets along really well with other dogs, sleeps very happily in her crate (was the easiest dog in the world to crate train, took no effort at all) stays behind the baby gates indoors despite being able to jump 5 foot fences, and only barks when people come near my place. She copes fine if I’m sick and can’t walk her for a day or two more, which takes off a lot of the strain for me. She could do with the extra level of dog training and I’d like to be able to get her into that this year.

We still have some areas that cause difficulties. She’s very afraid of thunder and fireworks, I’m going to buy her a snug dog jacket for dogs with anxiety attacks and see if that helps. I’m also going to fence off my window so that she can’t get to it and destroy the screen if she’s home alone when a bit of thunder happens. That’s going to make my life a lot easier. She’s also terrible for chasing cats. Not bad if they’re indoors, but outside is another matter. And I can’t leave her home while I go seeking cooler places to stay because it’s too hot for her out in my yard.

Today we’re going to try taking her and her crate out and see how she goes in someone else’s place. It would be awesome to be able to head off to cooler climes with her on days like this. Hope it works out 🙂

Tonks the cat

I am exhausted. Today was 6 hours of face painting at the Adelaide Zoo, Thursday was 5 hours, I’m working again tomorrow. It’s been great to have it busy, but I’m also ready to pass out. And I’m out of orange paint.

Tonks reckons she’s had a tiring day too:

Friends are over for hibernate pizza and a cards night. I’m either going to switch to someone less trashed, or sleep under the table while they play. 😉

Renovating the house (and bits of my life)

I am darn excited! As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m a ‘change the furniture around’ kind of person. Part of my dissociation is that I find I numb and disconnect to a home that never changes (see Dissociation and tricks of the brain). It doesn’t have to be massive change – a new bunch of flowers or moving a lamp will do. I’m in the middle of a big shift and repair job inside and out that is making me very, very happy.

First off, a new fan! I was given a Bunnings voucher from a friend and went and bought this huge, almost industrial wall fan to hang over my bed. It’s amazing!! Far more powerful than a ceiling fan. When I get one of the other projects done – fencing off the window from outside so I can replace the screen without Zoe destroying it, it will be like a completely different room to sleep in. Happy happy.

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Another project is improving the airflow through the house. Two screens need replacing and the Zoe fence needs building for that.

Zoe free areas in the house – planning to buy child gates second hand online to keep her out of the kitchen and studio. This will also limit the dog hair to certain areas of the house! Well, ~ish.

Renovate my studio. Again. Hurrah! My whole studio has been clogged up by the dog crate, completely inaccessible and filling up with clothes I can’t reach the wardrobe to hang back up. Tonks knocked a set of hollowed egg shells from an old art project called Taboo over and Zoe kindly chewed them into very small bits and scattered them through everything on the floor ie most of my clothes and hats and scarves and shoes and many art projects. So! The new plan is – no pets in the studio, and no table making it hard to access the wardrobe. The table is now gone, as is the dog crate.

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Zoe’s dog crate now lives in the loungeroom where the people are and away from the art supplies. Hurrah! The dining table now lives in the studio where the pets and pet hair is not. This is also a good thing.

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This means Zoe inherits the little fan I was using in my bedroom. 🙂

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A new mattress! Part of a Christmas gift for Rose, I’ve upgraded my rather awful matress for a really nice pillowtop I found at a salvos store that begged me to bring it home and see what it would do for sore backs. So far, it’s been a huge success. 🙂 Upgrading old furniture is an important and fun part of the housekeeping process, especially when you shop in the hard rubbish collections.

The last of the lawn is going! I’ve been in the process of replacing all the lawn in my front yard with a mulched garden bed full of herbs and flowers. My Mum has kindly done most of the work on this as I’ve been crook or flat out busy with work. We’ve brought some more mulch down and the last of the grass is being smothered under cardboard. My first seedlings are planted in a mini greenhouse for sprouting, hopefully I will soon be adding chives, thyme, and other seedlings to the garden.

All the curtain rod hangers in the house need replacing to double hangers suitable for an extra rod for netting. This will stop my curtains falling down every other time they’re opened or closed, and keep the neighbours from watching me cook in the kitchen and so on. A small but important detail that I’m really looking forward to!

My new art studio at Rockabilly BODY is still under construction and coming along really well. Once the walls are up and ready I’ll be off there to paint them and start furnishing it.

So there you have it. A catalogue of renovations and exciting changes. My roses are in full bloom, my figs are fruiting, my home is a bit of a mess but will be good before my rent inspection, all going to plan, and my heart is happy. 🙂 I know it seems crazy that it’s so crowded when I live alone in a 2 bedroom unit but between the 2 cats, the dog, Rose being around a lot, entertaining friends and family, and that I’m living here, using a room as a professional arts studio, using another room for my Temporary Body Art business stock/kit/paperwork, storing my library, and running the DI out of the place, my challenges to fit it all in using cheap or free furniture and limited energy are more understandable. Hopefully the new arrangements and also the new studio might improve things a bit, not to mention Rose and my sister moving in nearby when they find a place! 🙂

My Garden

I came back from Melbourne to a wonderful surprise, my Mum had done hours of work in my garden. The lawn is mulched, most of the plants that could be planted out have been, and the rest have been grouped together for easy watering. I love it so much! So does Sarsaparilla who spends most of his time sunning himself outdoors these days.

I have a lot of herbs, some fruit trees (fig, lemon, lime, mandarin, pomegranate etc) and beautiful flowers all mixed in together. Here’s some pansies next to my old lounge out there:

This is my new favourite place to sit. It’s a bit sheltered so my really stressful neighbor can’t see me. I love eating breakfast out there or having a cuppa late at night. Between the new garden, and the great work area for my business stuff (in my dining room) I’ve fallen back in love with my home. I’m really really sad at the prospect of moving out sometime. I’ve planned more herbs and flowers and I’m watching all my roses bloom. I’m so happy to be here.




We’ve been starting to go to house inspections which is super exciting. 🙂  Rose and my sister are hoping to move in together somewhere very close to me, with the idea that sometime mid next year I’ll join them. This staggers the big move a bit, gives pets a chance to get used to each other and keeps lots of backup plans in place in case something doesn’t work as well as we’d hoped. I’m feeling very settled and very blessed. 🙂