Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Thoughts on Privacy

Well here’s a turn up for the book! I’m actually writing a blog post!

I know I’ve neglected the blog for way too long but I started it finding it difficult to keep up a personal blog. It’s one thing when you’re blogging about a specific subject and can keep things pretty much impersonal but when it’s a blog like this - about my own life - I find it more difficult.

Not because there isn’t enough to write about, but because a lot of what I’d like to write touches on other people’s lives. That’s fair enough as long as it shows them in a good light but it doesn’t always. Some of the things that happen, or that are bothering me, or that I’d like to happen (there are just so many scenarios) involve other people and they either don’t show them in a very nice way, or they go too close to their own private lives.

I’m big on privacy, y’see. In fact, I’m a fiercely private person. I know you wouldn’t think so, because I do tend to write (and talk) about things that are personal, but that’s because it’s MY choice. I’m in control of what people do or don’t know. I don’t like other people talking about my private life, though, and I’d get quite upset to find something I’d rather keep private, splashed all over somebody’s blog. I mean, once it’s out there, that’s it. It’s out there for always. You can’t retract things on the Internet. Even if you delete stuff, there will still be traces of it there.

Yes, I know you can change names, locations, etc., but I still don’t feel entirely comfortable with it. Should the person stumble across my blog (and I’ve been surprised at times when I’ve discovered who’s actually been reading it), they’d recognise themselves. And that might feel hurt them. I don’t want to upset anybody, not even people I’ve fallen out with. There’s no point.

But I guess I’ll give the blog a chance again. I’ll just have to write about things that don’t breach other people’s privacy. How often I’ll post is yet to be seen, though.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

It's All About The Dogs

Recently, my life seems to have revolved around dogs.

A friend of mine has wanted a dog for a long time but her circumstances have prevented her from having one. That’ll be changing in a month, though, so she decided the time was finally right for her. I know she’s going to be a great doggy-mum because she’s always been great with Poppy and, nowadays, with Alfie. She’s asked lots of questions about Alfie’s training and absolutely loves him to bits and although she feels she’s learned quite a bit about dogs from me, she asked me to go with her to choose a pup because she has no idea what she’s looking for.

I’ve always maintained that when choosing a pet puppy the best is one of those that are left when you remove the boldest and the meekest from the litter and of those that are left, choose the one that seems most interested in you. Her choice fell on a lovely little black and white baby boy. His dad’s a Pappilon and his mum’s a Kelpie cross. Both dogs were friendly with nice temperaments so I feel sure she’s getting a little lad that’ll be a great companion for a long time.

Samm with her new baby

Weaning's started

The pup will be ready in four weeks, and for the first month or so they’ll be staying here while she toilet trains him and teaches him his basic commands. Again, she’s doing this because the first 12 weeks of a pup’s life are the most important - what happens then will lay the groundwork for everything that happens in the future - and she doesn’t want to make unnecessary mistakes. Half of me is looking forward to having a puppy in the house again while the other half is dreading it. At least it isn’t me who’s going to have to keep getting up through the night for toilet visits this time, though.

My daughter’s also been talking about getting a pup. She’s been brought up with dogs and is brilliant with them. There’s not much that I know that she doesn’t know so once again I know a dog would have a great life with her. We’ve spent some considerable time discussing how she’d be able to do if from a practical point of view, being as she’ll be working, but a combination of teaching the dog to accept being alone for a few hours at a time and dog-sitting duties from her nan and I, it should work out. She’s done the sums (getting a pup costs a lot - not only do you have to think of the cost of the actual dog, but vaccinations, chipping, all the equipment it’ll need etc) and thinks she should be able to do it this summer so we’ll just have to see what transpires.

Alfie’s had his Spring clip. He did look funny when he came home from the groomers but I’m used to him short now and in some ways, I prefer him this way.

It better suits his lifestyle to have a short coat. Before his clip he’d go for a run in the woods and end up bringing half the forest home in his fur. Absolutely everything clung to it. Sticks, dead grass, seeds….and those things would get tangled in. And if he went in the water and back out through the mud (which he inevitably would) it’d mean a full bath and groom when he got home. Nowadays nothing gets tangled in and the mud just dries off and brushes out. It’ll also be a lot more comfortable for him once it starts getting warmer. Funnily enough, Jack seems happier to play with him now, too. I’m wondering whether that’s because he can better see his eyes nowadays.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Jumping Through Hoops

Do you remember a short while ago I mentioned that Alfie would jump through hoops for a piece of cheese? Well I decided we ought to teach him to do just that. I started at floor level, gradually raising it until it was about eight inches from the floor. At that point Linn Marie took him off to her place for two weeks (she's on her Easter holiday). She continued to train him and here's the result:


Considering we started teaching him this on Saturday, I think he's doing marvellously.

He's also learned to do a figure of eight through our legs.


He learned that one a while back, but I thought I'd show you anyway. I'm proud of my raggedy friend, y'see :)


Sunday, 1 April 2012

I've Had A Wonderful Week, Thank You.

So much has happened since last time I blogged that I have no idea where to start. I really ought to blog more often and keep things up to date but I just don’t seem to have the time. Once upon a time I used to blog every day, but I look back on that time and wonder a) what on earth I found to write about, b) when did I fit it in? Paul was living at Mum’s helping her care for Dad at that point, though, and I did have The Alfster either, so I guess that explains the time issue.

But hasn’t the weather been fabulous? Paul and I have been out and about all week. We’ve been on lovely long walks (with plenty of sit downs along the way for me), we’ve visited friends on a narrow boat, had other friends staying which included a visit from two snakes and generally just enjoyed the fabulous weather we had. You can read more about all that over on Paul’s blog, if you’re interested.

I’ve also been replenishing my wardrobe. A couple of new pairs of linen trousers for the summer, various vest tops and t-shirts, a couple of thin cardigans, and shoes. I won’t tell you how many new pairs of shoes I’ve bought, though. Suffice to say they’re all either very beautiful or extremely comfy. A couple of pairs are both! I have a thing for shoes, y’see. I’m sure it’s because I have big feet (I take a 9). Back in my teens there were only a handful of shops in London that sold my size and most of those were what I would have termed ‘granny shoes’ and they were all very expensive. My parents certainly couldn’t afford to buy them often so most of the time I wore boys shoes. Sure, the unisex look was ‘in’ back then, but that didn’t make me feel any better. I wanted pretty, girly shoes. Now that more shoe shops are stocking my size, I go mad for them. I want shoes in every colour and style so that no matter what I’m wearing, there’s always something that ‘goes’. Needless to say, the past week has eaten into my savings somewhat.

There’s not been much time for knitting this week. A few rows on the hat that LM and I are doing as a knit-along. Even reading has fallen by the wayside somewhat, although it might have helped had I been reading something I was engrossed in. As it is, I’m reading “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. Everybody’s been raving about it but personally I’m finding it utterly boring. Almost half way through and still no proper story, as such. I'll stick with it a while longer, though. There must be something to it to have so many people excited about it, surely.

Alfie's gone to LM's for the Easter holidays so I don't need to take him out. It'll be strange without him around. Well, it already is. I missed him bouncing over my bed to say 'good morning' when I woke up,  I've just started teaching him to jump through a hoop so I hope LM keeps that going while he's gone.

This coming week I think we’ll be taking it easy and catching up with some jobs around the house. More de-cluttering. I’m constantly de-cluttering. There may well even be a few old pairs of shoes that need to go.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Asda Are Having A Laugh!

I do my grocery shopping online. It saves me getting worn out trapsing around the big shop where you can bet that everything I want is spread around so much that I have to cover the entire store. It’s always the way, isn’t it? Even if you just pop in for a few bits! All that walking and then standing in queues, packing the car, unpacking it and then actually putting the groceries away wears me out and I’d most likely end up spending the next day in bed. Not good. I don’t like wasting a day if I can help it.

Anyway, doing the grocery shopping online is great…..mostly. It’s when they start substituting things you’ve ordered that it can become a problem. Some of the substitutes are just too unbelievable.

I’ve had:

  • Yoghurt instead of sour cream
  • Tiny bananas about 5 inches long instead of normal bananas (two bites and gone).
  • Salad cream instead of mayonnaise
  • Tinned tomatoes instead of tomato puree
  • Puppy food instead of senior food 
  • And probably a few others that I can't remember

The "best" one ever, though, was cola bottle sweets instead of bottles of coca-cola. You know those little gelatine sweets that look like cola bottles but actually taste nothing like coke? That’s what they sent me.

I phoned the customer service line and explained what a ridiculous substitution it was and that being as I was having guests over in the evening and wouldn’t be able to get out to get actual coca-cola, I’d like them to deliver what I’d ordered. I couldn’t believe they didn’t have coca-cola in stock. The customer service guy couldn’t help me but he promised to get the store manager to ring me, which he did. I explained again about the guests and asked him whether he’d feel happy serving his guests a Bacardi and asking whether they’d like some coke with it, then bung a few sweets in their glasses. He saw my point and sent my three bottles of coke as ordered. That surprised me, but it was only fair really.

They really do need to take a look at their pickers, though. My guess is that half of them are foreign and don’t understand English very well. I’m all for everybody having a job, but if it’s job where you need to understand our language, it might be best to actually learn it beforehand.


Friday, 16 March 2012

Quick Off The Mark

Alfie's too damn smart.

Well, I like him being smart. He loves learning and will jump through hoops for a piece of cheese (note to self: must teach Alfie to jump through a hoop). The thing with smart dogs, though, is that they learn so quickly that you’re forever having to come up with new things to keep their minds stimulated. Smart dogs can easily become destructive if they’re under-stimulated, y’see. They get bored, which leads to depression which leads to frustration which leads to the house being wrecked (or worse, somebody being bitten).

A few days ago I ordered one of these toys for him. It's called "Hunde-Solitar" (Dog Solitaire).

The idea is to hide treats under the pegs and the dog has to work at figuring out how to get them out. There are lots of mind-stimulation games available for dogs but being as this was his first, I decided to start with one of the easier ones. He’s still just a pup, y’know, and I didn’t want to get him something he’d give up on. His attention span still isn’t as good as you’d expect from an adult dog.

Last night we set it up on the living room floor while he sat and watched. I wanted to let him see what I was doing so that he’d at least understand that treats were under the pegs. Mistake! That made it too easy for him. He went straight over, started pawing at the pegs and within ten minutes he had all but one of them off. The last one wouldn’t budge, though. He pawed and pushed, bit the top of it, but still it wouldn’t move. Because of this last, stuck peg, the game did actually keep him occupied for about an hour. He then started to give up. He’d go back now and then for another go, but he’d pretty much decided that there was no way to move that last one. It turns out that when LM went to put it away, it was indeed stuck. Strange because it slides in and out easily now.

Anyway, today I put it down for him again and within a couple of minutes he’d knocked them all over and gobbled up the treats. We tried again later, this time setting it up without him seeing it and only hiding treats under three of the pegs. He went straight over to it, sniffed around, then removed the three pegs covering treats and ignored the rest. Game over.

I’m sure he’ll still enjoy doing it just because it’s something for him to do - another way of working for a treat - but there’s not much mind stimulation left in it now. I wish I’d bought one of the higher level games because he’s really too smart for the beginner toys. He’s a Poodle, y’know.


For those who are interested, here's an interesting piece about intelligent vs. less intelligent dogs.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Workmen, Visits & Small Disasters

It’s been a hectic week here in the Jacobsen household.

What with the doors and the resultant wood shavings (that are still being walked around the house despite having vacuumed twice and numerous goings-over with the broom), a big Bupa delivery that I still haven’t unpacked, and too many late nights falling asleep in front of the box, it's been just a little tiring for me.

We’ve also had a visit from the manager of the new care agency that Paul’s now with - a very nice lady indeed - and a hair cut for Paul by Roger who very kindly came half an hour early in order to do it for him. There’s more about both on Paul’s blog, for those who are interested.

I’ve had new tarmac laid on part of the drive, which involved a lot of digging with a pneumatic drill at 8.30 in the morning. It’s evened out the awful dips, though, so hopefully no more big puddles to step out of the car into.

I’ve also been trying to get hold of my housing officer to get written permission to have dog flap fitted into the new back door that's being fitted soon. I have one in the old one, but the fitters need permission to fit one in the new one just in case the house aren’t keen on having a hole made in a brand new door. Apparently he knows - he’s been emailed once by head-office as well as reminded by telephone - but so far no response. He’d better no say no. If he does then I’ll be mighty annoyed being as I’ve offered to replace the door when I eventually leave this place (which I have no plans to do in the near future) and it would be discriminatory against me because my disability sometimes stops me from getting up and letting The Alfster out.

There have been a couple of knitting disasters this week, too. A cardi I was knitting for Tids came up too small twice! Using the original tension, yarn yardish and stitch numbers given on the pattern, there wasn’t even enough yarn to finish half of it. I changed my needle size in order to change the tension, used the stitch numbers for a smaller size and still I ran out of yarn. Needless to say, I’ve given up on that one!

But the week ended on a good note. A bloody brilliant one, actually. LM and I went up to Manchester to visit one of my closest friends and had an absolutely fantastic night. Alfie came with us and completely wooed everyone with his cute “butter wouldn’t melt” face, and he got a lovely long walk from my friend’s teenage daughter. Before we went I spent about an hour just cutting knots out of his fur. Poodle fur felts up really easily and as he’s allowed to be a dog when he’s out, he rolls in mud, gets himself stuck in bushes and all sorts of other stuff that leaves his coat looking absolutely dreadful. He now has a few bald bits, but hey-ho, rather a dog who’s happy being a dog than one that looks pristine but never gets to have any fun.

Back to the knitting now. I need to finish a little top I’m making for Tiddy (in lieu of the cardigan that never was) before I can start on the jumper I’ve planned for myself.


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