...I have been absent from this space for so long, typepad had time to change all the icons in their 'compose' blog post space. It took me ten minutes to figure out where the spelling check was (or almost), so I won't even bother to apologize to you, oh faithful readers. And don't search for the logic in that argument. There is none.
During the month of September I was at home for precisely ten days, the rest of my time has been filled with travelling, unfortunately not to exciting places like Africa or Iceland, but mostly inside my good old Germany. Nonetheless I have some pretty neat stories to tell you, some good drawings to share, only, how to say this... not much time.
The day after tomorrow I'm leaving again, this time for Spain and a week with my parents, so I don't know how much I'll be posting in the near future, but I wanted to let you know that I think of you all often, and that I miss you.
So here is, for your amusement, a sneak peek of the 2011 Lineanongrata calendar (which will probably be called 'living with animals') that I'm working on. And please don't mention that everyone else in the illustrative world has already finished their calendar. That's of no importance, really. Mine is the funniest.
Please excuse me for leaving you all alone yesterday. Advent should be a daily thing on this blog, but I was so exhausted yesterday that I just couldn't bring myself to post.
Today's blog post will be for two advent gifts then, two people will win something today.
Lisa, you won the last Advent gift, will you let me know your address, please ?
Since yesterday we have arrived safely, all four of us. For those of you who are new to this blog, the picture shows Aki and Wind, two of the creatures who just drove across Europe with me. Orion is a simple german shepherd, so you can about imagine what the trunk of my car looked like with those three in it.
We took off from France yesterday, and the first twenty kilometers or so were from hell. First, they wouldn't get into the trunk. When one was in, another jumped, and the first one came out again. We're not even talking about the third one here, namely Aki, who refused flat out to jump in in the first place. As for yours truly, I was half in the trunk, one leg outside for stability, moving like a goaly to fend off two from jumping out again and trying to lift the third one (as heavy as myself) into the car. - Shut the door, the whining started instantly, cold sweat dripping from my brow.
Thoughts ranging from 'what am I doing to those poor creatures' to 'they might just die in the trunk' (what from ? Well, dehydration, for example ? What's that you say ? It's winter and dogs don't die from dehydration right now ? I wasn't thinking about that while Wind (the black and white one) did her dying swan act in the trunk.) started to turn around my brain immediately. The whining stopped after about thirty kilometers, as I said, and an eerie silence set in.
At first, I looked in at them every couple of kilometers. But then I thought we'd better drive quick and shorten the suffering that way. So I drove and drove and drove, hearing nothing but supposing absolute misery.
When I finally had to stop to get gas, I got out of the driver's seat with the wildest apprehensions, walked around to peek in the trunk... had Wind shoot me a tired glance and then drop right back to sleep. The other two didn't even budge.
I guess it's a lesson in taking things as they come and not worrying before they have even arrived.
to think the potted plants had a chance now the dogs are grown up (more or less).
Minus the cat had six kittens about two months ago. Conversation between Vincent and me at dinnertime is down to zero. All we do is watch the tiny warfare going on everywhere on the terrace, uttering remarks like 'oh, have you seen the grey one jumping ?', or 'huhu, loooook !'.
'Dogs again' you think. But the picture is there because I can't post pictures of what this post is actually about.
Because it's a secret !
If you are my sister Hanna, you may read this post, but you shouldn't click on any link and under no circumstance should you head over to my Flickr page. Really, don't. You'd spoil it for both of us.
For all the rest of you, if you would like to see pictures of what all this is really about, head on over here. And here, keeping in mind that it will be my sister's birthday on July 29th. Now that I think about it, you should have a peek at this, too, because Amy makes such beautiful things.
At this point my family is howling with laughter because I managed to start a gift three weeks before the birthday. That's a first. Usually I come home and tell everybody 'I've got such a neat gift for you, I just need time to make it'. In June, when it's a christmas gift, for example.
So bets are probably up that I'll get home with something half-finished that I need to finalize in the wee hours before my sister's actual birthday. We'll see.
They'll see. I'll try. To be a better person, in at least one tiny way.
If you comment, could you please not mention the words (the q-word, for example) that would reveal to Hanna what she's going to have ? You may break out in admiring 'oh's and 'ah's and we'll just have a good time all together without her, discussing the roundabout... something.
That's evil, isn't it ? Having people in more than three countries know what she'll get and pretending all the while that I do it only to be a better person ?
Would anyone care to take a guess as to how many times I have been at the Vet's last month ?
An unbelievable six times, the checkups and pulling out of stitches and picking up of sick dogs after a day's observation not counted.
One with a fever, one with herbs in her ears, one with a head that almost got bitten off and one with a herb that got under his skin and had to be taken out.
Every time the same show: Only Orion would jump in the car on his own. The other two had to be lifted (! by me !). Once I have them at the Vet's, they'll start whining incredibly loud until my ears fall off and everybody looks at us accusingly.
On the way home they have to be lifted in the car again, by me.
And now I have one that looks as though he had a zipper around his throat and when you open it, his head falls off.
And the other who looks as though he put on his Tuxedo to take his girlfriend to the Prom.
'He should rest' the Veterinarian said.
'Sure', I think, the question is just: How ?
This post is titled 'a walk', but it might have been 'a week's worth of photos' or 'what we love'. Because at the moment I don't have a lot of time to post or even to think about the things that are happening, but there is one hour that is more or less always the same. The one hour I reserve for taking a walk with the dogs.
It's usually a solitary hour (even though there are four of us) where I feel strongly about nature and see so many things changing incredibly quickly over a week or so.
I love how there Irises are just there. All of a sudden.
I love the geometry of the first spring green in the vineyard.
'Drinking while walking right in it' is a huge favorite. For some of us. It's difficult to restrain myself. But I've yet to give in.
It's amazing how rain is omnipresent. It's either here, or we're waiting for it. That's as 'May' as it will get.
I wonder about the grasses. Can oats really be growing already ? Grasses are something I associate so much with fall.
I love the feeling of 'this is the South'. This is the South because of the small huts, because of the vineyards. Because of the smells. Because of the ever changing sky. Because of the birds and the cicadas.
We love playing 'where is the 45 kg doggy ?'.
How lovely is seeing the sky after the day spent in front of the computer...
watching my mother fall asleep over a book,
finishing a child's sweater ?
But nothing is as funny as seeing what Akbar left for the cat after a raid on the cat food. Really, that's my absolute favorite.
We're off to London for a trade fair next week. Cross all your fingers and toes so that we'll find an importer.
I hope I'll find a moment to post. Because I'll meet a very special person I've never met before. My first blog friend meeting ever. I'm incredibly excited. Janet, I'm on my way for cake, coffee and London ! And a no-boy day.
The friend who had been staying with us when these two were born has visited us again in April and thought they were two different dogs. Which they are, in a way. They're what grew out of those palm-sized tiny fuzz balls. But they're still Wind and Akbar. Six months and a half older than the last time my friend saw them.
Ripping things apart is still their mission in life. We clean it up every other day, but they come up with something new to destroy all the time. I have no idea where they find the stuff. Mainly because by the time I see it, it doesn't resemble anything I have ever owned.
Last week Vincent went to visit his parents for three days and my private menagerie chose this moment of all to disappear.
For 48 hours.
Leaving me alone at this place during one entire night. I tried watching soothing movies and reading uninteresting books. But I still didn't sleep all that much and woke up with a pair of black rings under my eyes that would have pleased Dracula's girlfriend but cost me a considerable amount of make next morning.
Not that I think that one of the puppies would defend me when it came to that, they're more likely to slobber someone to death, but I would not like to see anyone try to harm me in Orion's presence. Ever.
But Orion, too, was gone. I suspect he was trying to lead Akbar and Wind far away from home so that they might lose themselves and never find their way back. Like in 'Hansel and Gretel', only that he didn't find the convenient witch to take the puppies in.
After the first twelve hours I started to be scared, with various story-variations playing out in my head. In which either one of the dogs or someone else was hurt. You never know. And just imagine taking a comfortable stroll on a beautiful afternoon and running into two slobbery and exuberant monsters, each weighing about 45 kg !
In 48 hours I had time to call all surrounding mayor's offices, the humane society, the vet's office... told the post office lady, the bar-owner and the grocery store man all about two runaway dogs. In the most inconspicuous words I could imagine.
Downplaying the word 'big'. Putting a lot of emphasis on 'gentle'.
And then they came running back, exactly 48 hours later. Grinning, if dogs can grin, happy, not at all hurt and not the least bit starved or exhausted.
Sometimes I wish it was the neighbor's guinea pig that had had young ones in my back garden.
'Oh, please excuse me, but if you see two guinea pigs running around, you know, small little guinea pigs, those are ours. Yes, yes, they're really gentle. In case you see them, would you please call this number so I can come pick them up ? Yes, they're always together and they are a little bullheaded, but still, very gentle.'
Orion and I can't run at the moment. He hurt his leg and I hurt my neck (get to wear a fancy collar that helps my muscles relax, so that possibly maybe someone might put the vertebrae back into my spine. The one that got misplaced.).
Idling away, we asked ourselves what we would blog about in the evening, if not running ?!
And as Orion thought my collar-provoked double chin was so funny, we decided to show it off in a series of gratuitous auto-portraits.
He took the pictures, that's what they are out of focus. Of course.
These are a lot of pictures of me, I know. But I usually don't do that, and I did spear you the three pictures that depict only Orion's left ear. They make me laugh, these photos, so humor me tonight, please. I can neither sew nor draw tonight because my neck hurts so much, so some laughter lightens my cranky mood and fills my unoccupied brain.
Yesterday afternoon our puppy Akbar got sick. We watched him degrade from happy idiotic little dog to unmoving heap of misery in half an hour and all the vomiting, slobbering (bubbly shoe laces) and other nondescript things led us to believe that he had found and eaten rat poison. I wouldn't put it past Mister Pea brain to do so one day, yesterday we were lucky though, and he only ate a lot of organic fertilizer. So did Wind, but she stops eating when she's not hungry any more. Aki just keeps going joyfully, as long as there's something smelly to devour.
We're happy to report that he's doing fine, but we had quite a fright for a couple of hours, and I made the trip to the Vet's three times in eighteen hours.
But while my day started with a little nag of worry today, it got better after the third checkup trip to the Vet's, and it got better still just an hour after I got back.
And for once it was the French Post that made me happy (please note the premier).
Well, the French Post and LeeAnn. She sent me this beautiful gift in return for an Advent gift she received.
I left it on the table for an hour, just looking at it every five minutes, because it was so beautifully packed.
But you can't just look at a gift all day. Or I can't. I don't have the mental strength.
And you know what ? It got better still. Because in the beautiful package was another beautiful package.
I got through another ten minutes without unwrapping it, but resolve was fading rapidly.
Isn't this the most thoughtful gift ever ? It's a vintage brooch from Germany. Because I'm German. And LeeAnn, it was such a pleasure. Even more so because I do miss my country badly at the moment.
Now you think that was all, don't you ? But these arrived with the same Post:
They're what I ordered from Citronille, and I have already started making the little dress (really have restrained myself from buying their whole range, too. I am rather proud of myself.).
Remains the question of what good tomorrow may bring, after so much goodness today ?
Well, I'm waiting for Akbar to double in size after eating so much fertilizer. Wouldn't that be nifty ?
Or maybe a lot of giant trees will have sprung from his... well, the things he dumped around the winery. Talk about organic growth...