Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Life Lessons from 2 Dogs

In April I adopted a little tornado of a dog named Hayley from Ark animal rescue centre as a companion to my amazing friend and dog, KD. Hayley appears to be a Daxie x Basenji but looks like a miniature ridgeback (if there ever was such a thing).  And in the last few months since adopting her, I have learnt more about life through my 2 amazing dogs than one could imagine learning from what some may think of as just dogs.
First lesson…: Pick up after yourself! Hayley is a terrorist of note and has chewed through more things than you can imagine (the list is too long to post)! Being rather tall, she can also get to things that K never dreamed of and I know he encourages her to get things for him - KDs favorite chew is obviously food, followed by pens and H just adores socks and underwear!! And nothing makes you more alert to put your washing in the basket than a puppy running out onto the lawn with something of that nature when you live in a complex!!!
Second lesson:… Patience! Not everything happens instantly. Sometimes we just have to breathe and wait. Hayley loves planting socks and I am sure she is hoping that one day the socks will multiply into a garden oasis of fluffy, colorful socks. So, just like she waits in patient hope that my Flanders sock will multiply, we too need to learn that not everything happens overnight and when you cannot change things (like a sock not growing), sit back, enjoy the ride and watch the pretty sock!
Third lesson…: Smile! Even when things are crazy, little H and big brother KD will do something cute or crazy. Usually it is H smiling with her crazy grin and doing something insane like playing in a freezing water bowl on a winters day or KD rolling over for a tummy tickle or crawling into my bed during the day and making it look like I did not make my bed. But, no matter what: these 2 remind me daily that its ok to giggle at stupid things even if it is a silly dog splashing water on you on a cold winters day.
Fourth lesson:… A hug is worth more than money. K isnt big on hugs so this is where H has come in - putting those long arms around your neck and putting her head on yours is often one of those special moments after a long day at work. Only problem is that she will stand there all day if given half a chance whilst K eats her food (and mine if he gets a chance).
Fifth lesson…: Get outside. Now, this has never been a problem for me but has been a good reminder. Having 2 hyper dogs (as opposed to 1 hyper dog) has meant that now I really cannot escape walking every day!! Some days, all I want to do is chill on my couch with a glass of wine but the 2 nutters bully me and make sure that that does not happen!! They make sure their mom gets out and gets fresh air.
Sixth lesson…: Sleep is good. Dogs are nearly as good as cats when it comes to being sleep experts and we can all learn a lesson from them when it comes to animals and how much they sleep. I mean, just look at how happy, care free and energetic animals are and how much they sleep versus how humans are in general.
Seventh lesson:… You are never too old to learn! KD is back at school and is having a blast (he just likes the eating part but learning comes as a result) and he has even started agility, which we are both enjoying. (But, please dont tell K I said he was old cause he is only 6 or 7 so is only a teenager and will pee on me if he hears I called him old!) So, get out there and learn something even if its something small.
Eighth lesson…: This is a lesson on uniqueness so I am going to call it Chasing Cars. Although they are both dogs and are alike in that they have 4 rather long legs, cute ears, bark, cuddle and adore their human (aka me), they are also uniquely different to each other: K is an independent boy who cuddles on his own terms and does not really do dog-like stuff like chase balls but would do ANYTHING for a tummy tickle or a piece of liver bread. He is distinctly half human in his thinking. On the other hand, Hayley chases balls, cars, plays in water and would do ANYTHING for a cuddle or a run. My point is that no matter how similar people may seem to each other, they each have their own unique characteristic that makes them who they are and as such, we need to treasure that difference.
Ninth lesson:… Pee in a tunnel. Yep, you read that right! Every now and again, do something off the wall. K likes to mark his spot in odd places (like tunnels and doggie water bowls) but it makes him happy. Hayley likes to run like a lunatic and make other dogs chase her. So, perhaps we too need to do something crazy but maybe not following Ks example of peeing in odd places!
Tenth lesson…: Bury a bone. Have you ever been in your garden and seen the fossils? Well, I have and its not of a dinosaur. Yet, dogs think that a buried bone is the best thing ever because it is their treasure that they found and stashed away for a rainy day when they needed something yummy to chew on. Personally, I hate when K brings his month old bones into the house or when H rediscovers the sock that I thought the laundry monster had eaten but they get a major kick out of it. The lesson: keep a good book handy for when you need a break from the norm. How do I equate a book to a bone? Look at how zoned out a dog gets with a good bone and then you do the math.
I could go on and on about the lessons that these 2 have taught me but for now, that is more than enough!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

5 weeks down the line

5 weeks ago my dad and hero died. His name was Michael Ian Logie and he was amazing. Heard at his memorial what an awesome friend and sibling he was but that was nothing compared to the dad he was!! All the super heroes in the world could combine their super powers and not be nearly as cool as my dad was.

So what happened? In short: he seemed to have known for a few years his heart was dodge and prepared us for his end and in the end malaria started the process and his heart ended it. Not gonna lie but it sucked big time and I now want to kill every mosquito on the planet because despite being a mozzie magnet and being the slackest person with mozzie spray, I have never gotten malaria but the most important member of our family got bitten by that one mosquito. 

The last few weeks have been insane as the stupid public holidays delayed cremation and the death certificate. Then the admin started. And that excludes how my poor mom has been. I am just grateful to the friends and family that have been there for her! 

It's been 5 weeks and for us as a family things are just beginning. A new life begins without the amazing husband, brother and dad that we had. I am just grateful that he was so organized and has made it as easy as possible to part things. Thank you dad. Don't know how I would have remained so "strong" had it not been for your training, notes and planning. You died too young and will be greatly missed. Mom lost her friend and life partner, Gareth lost someone he looked up to and wanted to grow up to become, I lost my mentor and friend. We all lost you. 

As a family we all have our own beliefs but personally: I look forward to greeting you in the resurrection. I look forward to beingg able to say to you that I did as promised and looked after mom.

Many are asking how each of us are coping. Mom is as well as she can be and I do worry. But I am thankful to her friends for helping. Gareth is quiet but protective. I am ok. I am dealing with the admin kinda well even though I see I am becoming more serious and less tolerant of certain things (like my messy house), I am enjoying the decreased appetite and am busy planning a "weekend away" but at my home. The idea is to have an open invite to a daily bring, braai, sew, build, chill and wii. Basically: I am home and if anyone wants to come do stuff, I am chilling. I may even get a Cadac for the occasion and make a real brunch!!

Oh! Big news for the blog: I adopted a new dog. She is dachshund x basenji and is naughty but super adorable!! At 8 months old, I am so glad I only have 14 more months of hell to go. Pretty sure dad would have loved the cuddle queen - K does and he is the ice king! The 2 have bonded as if they were meant for each other but I still make sure I get some KD cuddles so I don't miss out on that.

Anyway, I hope my next posting is about another big adventure but think it may actually be on my next bush adventure. Until then, stay safe and keep exploring.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Walking my dog and cyclists

So my latest thing is walking my dog along the infamous "Spruit". Cyclists and dog walkers each believe it's theirs. Reality is that they have to share it!!!! 

So here is my honest perception from both sides...

Mojopup, aka cyclist me....
Cruising along this awesome trail but it's seriously muddy out there in dry weather and this mud stinks cause it's dog poo. Seriously?!? And then you wonder why I curse you as I pass you cause I saw you're dog poop and you walked on. Worse is that I rode through it and have splatter in my face!!! Yucky. Then I meet your fellow dog walker and ring my bell until my ears ring but you don't get your dog under control!! Um, I am happy for your dog to be off lead illegally as long as you can control it. I crash into Fifi and you blame me yet your dog was off lead, I rang my bell and you did nothing. (Hypothetical but I would hate for a dog to get hurt.) 

KD's mom, aka dog walking me...
Minding my own business with dog on lead and oh my poo!!!! You start swearing at me despite my not hearing you approach. Where the #%{**#*#*}* is your bell or manners???  But I keep silent and when my boy makes his mess I pick it up, wishing I could throw it at you. But I don't... Not today. But I swear, you hurt my dog and.......... Then, I hear a bike and I tell my boy "bike" and he comes to my side and we move to the side. Some of you thank us (it's taken time to train him to automatically move and get to safety when I give this command), the majority don't and I feel that if you could aim and hit us, you would get brownie points on some strava-like ranking board.

The point of this? Well, walkers: pick up poop. And keep your dog on its lead as per the law. If you don't want to keep your dog on a lead, then train them to move for bikes. Cyclists: a bell is cheap! And manners cost less. Announce your approach or accept disrespect. Better yet, if you don't have manners, stay away from public areas and stick to cycling only areas. I am actually starting to have a deep dislike for my fellow cyclists as a result of my experiences and am embarrassed to call myself a cyclist thanks to you all.

Am I qualified to say these things? Yes I am! I am a passionate cyclist and a dog walker. So play nice at the Spruit.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Once upon a time....

...in a complex in the forests of Johannesburg lived 2 neighbours, Lisa (aka Neighbor) and Neighbor (aka Diane, the author of this blog).

The first time I met Lisa was in November 2006 when I had just moved into the complex and had just finished my first 94.7 Cycle Challenge and Lisa had just returned from supporting the 94.7. Being a spectator looked like SUCH fun!!! The next memory I have of this neighbor was one evening when I was sitting at home watching TV and I heard what sounded like a drunken party next door. The second time this happened, I had to investigate so off I went to check it out. There I found the oddest thing: a bunch of people stitching and crocheting without any alcohol in sight!!!! Uber weird. These must be aliens....

That interaction was the start of a friendship - not only with Lisa but with her amazing bunch of friends. That evening changed the course of my Joburg adventure. Before that, I craved going back to George on holidays, after that I had people to adventure with and I created my own adventures.

The first of the big adventures was Lost City 2007. Quick rewind: when I bought my home, the lady whom I bought from told me about her "ex-daughter in law". Back to the story... For this adventure, a bunch of us were going camping in the Pilansberg and some of the group were going to race the Lost City Classic. For this adventure, Lisa organized that I would drive up with a friend of hers. Turns out this was  the "ex-daughter in law". Small world. This weekend was awesome!! We started the Bunny Club that weekend and Ilma was tasked to make Bunnies for everyone (except her husband and myself because we were hard core mountain bikers and were not going go degrade ourselves and get bunnies - although both of us cracked and eventually got Ilma to make Rebel Bunnies).

Another series of adventures that we had was that we all used to go cycling in the Cradle of Mankind. Lisa, Delene (her sister), Linda, Ilma, some others (I think) and myself used to park at Teak Place and ride our road bikes around the area and then return to Teak for pancakes. One of the first of those adventures was the day Delene nearly lost her front wheel but there were plenty of those amazing mornings and every time I drive past Teak (which is now sadly closed), I reflect on those times before I was competitive and all I wanted to do was ride my bike with my new friends.

At some stage during all of this came 2008 and I found myself reading a book called "Around Africa on my Bicycle" by Riaan Manser. This sparked my need to do something BIG and my Tour de Tuli idea was formulated. The group were so encouraging and encouraged my training and eating plans (eating chocolate all the time is considered an eating plan) and thanks to them I had people to train with. Ilma's hubby Mark was a key training partner and Lisa was a key person it was during this time that I had my first decent fall off my mtb and needed a lift to hospital.

Perhaps one of my most fondest memories was Destination X. Lisa was training for her first 94.7 and I agreed to go for a ride with her along a random route that I had in mind. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that she was fasting so I picked a fairly tough route. The ride took us from our complex, up past Clearwater Mall and up into the hills of Roodepoort. The one hill was NASTY and Lisa was not a happy camper. The fun part however was coming down Krugersdorp hill and after that it was rolling hills home. Unfortunately my little hill had broken her and Lisa bonked. I nursed her home and she never went on a Destination X ride again! She did however remind me a million times about that ride and how people should never trust me if I don't spell out the route beforehand.

Over the years I have subsequently done some cool adventures and none of them would have been possible if it hadn't been for Lisa and the amazing bunch of friends she introduced me too.

Yesterday I attended Lisa's funeral. Lisa's death was sudden and greatly emotional for all of us. It has given her friends a time to reflect on Lisa and life.

To me Lisa was not only my neighbor but a reliable friend. Lisa was always there for people and would unselfishly do stuff for others - be it take them to hospital after a fall, make them a cuppa tea when they have had a bad day or bring you crumpets when you were having a really bad week. Lisa also had a great presence about her without knowing it. She will be remembered for her orange tea which fixed all things and her saying "Just keep pedaling".

I owe Lisa a lot and I will always remember her kindness and warmth. Actually, I am struggling to get what is in my brain about how to express what kind of person she was onto this blog. Best I can describe it is this: She was Lisa Mulley. Neighbor, friend and mother to 2 cool cats. She has left a big gap in many lives and I just hope that we can all learn from her and go forth and emulate her good qualities.

To her family: I know times are tough now but it should get easier. As a friend, I am here for you and look forward to many more adventures with you all. And: I do believe I owed Lisa a cake so I expect a delivery soon.

Just keep pedaling.....


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Last of 2013's adventures

So Monday in short... Woke up, went to the main camp to sort out the account and then we aimed at going for a quick drive but we didn't get far due to rain. The rest of the day was spent packing up the house and I got a small gift for my pup - give you a hint: his favorite toy is his elephant and this gift is actually compost for my succulent garden... We went for a drizzly evening drive and were spoilt to seeing elephant and lion as a parting gift from the bush. Sadly the wild dogs and hyaena eluded is.

Now to climb onto my high horse and get grumpy about something... In my last post I mentioned about the poachers... So we got an update on what happened and it turns out that it was 2 poachers but due to the rain the trackers and dog couldn't follow the trail. Our team worked until late trying to find these thugs and were up and back at it early. Fortunately it looks like no rhino were taken out this time and from all accounts, it appears that they left the reserve - boot prints were spotted Monday morning by one of the owners on one of our boundary roads. This time we were fortunate in that these thugs were scared off so quickly. These morons clearly didn't think about their timing and were on the reserve when there was an increase of activity so their chances of being spotted was significantly greater as people went in search of the big 5 and other game.

Sadly the fight against these thugs is really difficult because of their cunning and the limited resources available to fight against them. Just think of it this way: the most effective method in fighting this onslaught is obviously by putting helicopters in the air but to run a chopper it costs around R6000 per hour. That means if you wanted to run a chopper for 8hrs a day all year you would need R17.52million per year!!! And that excludes all your staffing costs and if you were to buy your own chopper, that figure could easily be doubled for the first year. Now lets be more realistic and put our chopper up for 1 hour per day and we still have 2.2million as a minimum.

My one goal for 2014 is to help do something about this plague and if possible put a chopper in the air for at least 2hours. Small goal I know but if I can do that, that is 2 hours of no poachers. If I can do more, that's a bonus. If you would like to assist in this project, keep an eye on this blog because I will be posting more details about this personal project in the next week or so.

If by some off chance you are a poacher and are reading this: do not be fooled: the war against your terror will end for one simple reason: there are insanely passionate people out there who will stop you.

Got back home yesterday and am planning some local, bush and of course the next big adventure. 2014 is going to be a good year.