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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Happy Solstice!

Mt Wellington, 2010
And BRRRRRRRRRRR.....what a chilly one it is.  I've been in Tassie for 9.5years and in the last few years I've noticed a biennial pattern with the weather, particularly the cooler months.  Whereas we had 6 months of Autumn last year, this year it's all about freezing our behinds off, much like the winters of 2009 & 2007.

The upside of this for Jasmine is the likelihood of good snowfall on the mountains in the next 4 months or so.  She really enjoyed playing in the snow on Mt Wellington last year & has been waiting to go back ever since.  I just need to get new tyres on the car first - balding tyres, snow & a steep, narrow road do not work well together!

I'm struggling a bit to write this post.  Sometimes, words just flow, but tonight I keep drawing blanks.  It's just been one of "those" days & even as I write this, at 12.30am, Jasmine is testing boundaries.  There's been a bit of it lately, compounded by dramas interstate with extended family, so blogging has slipped down the priority list a little.

OK - take 2.  A few days has passed since I started this (and even more since I wrote this bit, so take 3) & I'm slightly more in the frame of mind to recall recent events.  Some of the things we've been up to include......

Cirque du Soleil
Being a lover of performance & acrobatics, Jasmine was SUPER excited when she saw an ad on TV for Cirque du Soleil's 'Saltimbanco'.  Thankfully, we had some money come through a few days before it started, so we booked 3 tickets & went to see a fantastic show.  Jasmine had been watching clips on YouTube for days before hand and was REALLY looking forward to seeing Elena Lev & her hula hoop/contortion routine, but that was not part of the show.  I was looking forward to the Hand to Hand routine that was supposed to be in the show, but wasn't for some reason.  I do wonder if there may have been an injury preventing them from performing the night we went.  I know they were in town as they had apparently performed a demo in the Mall earlier that day promoting the show.  Still plenty of WOW moments & amazingly talented performers, though.

Speaking of amazingly talented, here's Jasmine on the left, aged 3 in June 2008 with 4 hoops and again on the right in June 2011 with 8 hoops.  It's really no wonder she was disappointed not to see a hoop act.  Still, Circus Oz will be coming to town in October, so we'll see what acts they have ;)

Jet Streams
Jasmine was amazed to see a white line forming in the sky the other day, which triggered learning about jet streams, air currents, condensation, exhaust emissions & such.  Finished with a spot of cloud watching :)

Conception (human & feline)
Her obsession with online videos of human - and now feline - reproduction continues.

We're watching a doco on Channel 9 / WIN called 'Inside the human body' & really enjoying it.  The CGI technology used produces awesome images of the internal workings of the body.  We've also got a chook sitting on one little egg, which should be due to hatch any day now.  Just hoping it's actually fertile - haven't had a chance to check it out.

One of the subjects covered in the doco last week was death & what happens to the body as we die.  A couple of years ago, Jasmine saw my grandfather in his last days, as well as viewing his body at the funeral.  She really connected what she was seeing on the screen with what she saw in real life.

Also, this week saw the passing of our dear cat, Crusty.  At 13 years old, he was the youngest of our 3 feline family members.  He was a gorgeous gentle giant who loved to walk right where you need to step & specialised in acupuncture.  

I noticed a couple of months ago that his kidneys were swollen & he just wasn't quite himself, but it settled after a few days & he picked up a bit.  I figured I'd still take him to get checked out as he wasn't quite right.  I was going to ring up & make an appointment at the vet the next day, but about 10 mins before I planned to make the call, Jasmine called me to the bedroom with real urgency.  Crusty was having a seizure & frothing at the mouth.  I touched him & he settled down a bit.  I picked him up, rang the vet straight away & took him in.  The receptionist at the clinic was surprised with how quickly we got there ;)

The vet took bloods but was unable to obtain a urine sample.  We took Crusty home & he had another seizure not long afterwards.  Once it was over, he was clearly dizzy & disorientated.  All we could do was keep him hydrated & wait for the results.  As suspected, he had kidney failure - the most common killer of cats.  The vet said nothing could really be done & to figure out when to put him to sleep.

I did a lot of research online & found some natural therapies to help.  I also tried some Reiki with him, which he really seemed to enjoy & always relaxed with.  For a few weeks, although clearly not well, he perked up & his spirit was strong.  Then last week, he stopped eating & drinking.  He had mouth ulcers & gagged every time he tried to swallow anything.  Jasmine was very matter-of-fact about it in a way only children can be, telling everyone she met that Crusty was dying.  She knew from that doco what was happening inside his body & we discussed it any time she raised the subject.  I slept on the lounge with him last Thursday night as he was better for company.  I knew it was nearly time, but he wan't quite ready to leave his body.  On Friday night, he didn't come inside.  I went for a walk along our road trying to find him, to no avail.  D went out a little while later & found him.  I was soooo relieved to have him inside.  Again, I slept on the lounge with him, or rather, tried to sleep.  He was awake meowing/crying ever half hour to an hour.  I asked him to let go, but he was determined to hag on every last minute he could.  I had my stethoscope with me & his heart beat remained strong, despite his obvious discomfort & dropping body temperature.

At about 7am, he went into the next room & snuggled in with one of Jasmine's soft toy dogs.  We were supposed to be helping friends move into their new house, so D spent the morning doing that before ringing the vet arrange THAT appointment.  Just as we were about to leave home, Crusty wet himself & was most displeased.  I grabbed some tissues, dried him off a bit, then lay him on a towel on top of his bed.  He was happy to travel like that & I was glad he didn't have to spend his last half hour in a crate.  He barely made a sound on the way there.  Occasionally, he'd look around, but then his head would flop back down.  His heart rate was only about half of what it had been during the night, so he was already losing the fight.  He did meow a little when we were a couple of minutes from the vet, but then seemed resigned to it.  Once we were there, the vet tied the tourniquet & administered the injection.  I felt him go pretty much the moment she untied the strap.  I've never known an animal to succumb so quickly.  The vet let us have a few moments alone & we all cried together.  Jasmine wanted to hold Crusty on the way home.  When we got home, we laid him on the bed & prepared to bury him the next day.

We were originally going to plant him under a new tree, but ended up deciding to use a rose instead.   "Loving Memory" was one of the first roses I found at the shop & it was perfect.  We decided on the weed-infested garden bed marked for rehabilitation as a rose bed.  It's a place he used to sit on occasion, as well as walk across when he headed off to visit the neighbours.  It felt right.  We gave him one last cuddle & said our final goodbyes.  Jasmine handled it better than me, but that's not really surprising.  Watching doco's really seems to help her comprehend & accept what's happening.  She keeps saying it feels like Crusty isn't really dead & only seems to well up when she sees me cry.

Our eldest cat, Bonni, aged 17, has also recently being diagnosed with kidney failure plus hyperthyroidism.  I'm starting to think she hasn't got long to go either, so it's an emotional time here in the valley.  Our other cat, Sabre (Crusty's mum) seems to be in pretty good shape, so fingers crossed she'll be with us for a while yet.  Jasmine is already hassling for a kitten, but I think we'll just wait a while.

Evaporation, transpiration & molecular structure
We could almost say this subject is turning into a year-long unit study.  Lots more talk about water, clouds, rain and as of this week, snow!

We've implemented a roster for cooking to make sure everyone gets a turn in the kitchen.  Jasmine gets to choose meals & cook on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I'm relegated to Sous chef (or is that kitchen hand?) on those nights ;)   There's also lots of late-night experimentation in the kitchen, often resulting in something inedible, but sometimes turning out really awesome like this Moroccan spiced chicken & vegetable stack, albeit at 2-2.30am.  I guess her sleeping habits would be well suited to a career in the kitchen ;)

The questions keep coming about planets, stars, the moon, the sun, gravity & rotational forces.  Can't wait for the nights to warm up again so we can do a bit more stargazing.

I'm impressed with her commitment to her roller skates.  Still a way to go with technique, but she's not giving up.  She really wants to try ice skating & has been watching YouTube vids of figure skating.  A friend of ours asked recently if Jasmine would be interested in going ice skating as she was going to organise a time with the rink.  It's been a lonnnng time since I've donned skates, so it should be interesting!

OK - that's probably more than enough for one post.  Will save the other couple of things for the next post in the next few days :)


  1. I honestly don't know how you manage to stand the cold down there! I'm freezing up here and it's 20C and sunny!

  2. I start melting when it hits the mid-20's these days, so I think I've well & truly acclimatised ;)