It's still raining. At least if it's still raining tomorrow, I can enjoy it from the comfort of my bed :) Because it's Friday!
Nothing much happened last night, just a minor hiccup in the dinner-time plans ... Was all scheduled to make Char-grilled Beef with Citrus Salad, until we started reading the recipe. The beef is supposed to be refrigerated for 3 hours or overnight with the citrus "marinade". Eep. Was a little late to be discovering that at 7pm last night. So we've now done the prep and will hopefully be enjoying that for dinner tonight instead. Last night we had to settle for (what turned out to be) delish sandwiches.
Oh, and I went to the doc yesterday (although I was feeling back to pretty-much normal) and have come away with all sorts of Homeopathic pillules and what not.
Friday, January 30, 2009
It's still raining. At least if it's still raining tomorrow, I can enjoy it from the comfort of my bed :) Because it's Friday!
Posted by phillygirl at 1/30/2009 07:26:00 am
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I *can not* believe it is still raining in Joburg. Seriously. I know, blah blah, summer rains, whatever. But seriously, aren't you still supposed to see the sun, at least for a little? And then it ends up raining in the afternoon just to break the heat. I'm sure that's how this is supposed to be working. Instead we have London's grey skies from morning till night with torrents of rain and the odd lightning bolt thrown in during the day. Seriously, people.
Anyhoo, last night was cool :) My dear friend Interviewing for a Husband is up in Joburg for a conference so we went out for a good old catch-up dinner at Cranks. I haven't been in ages and I think she enjoyed the zaniness of it, although she would probably prefer a more high-class spot ;) She does love Thai food which is how we ended up there. It was so nice to catch up! One of the things we were discussing is how few good friends we both have these days, both of us loosing friends in break-ups and finding that starting afresh to meet people at around 30 is not very easy and how little effort most people make. We laughed at how easy it was for us. We met randomly thru the group of guys I met Bean thru and now she & I are the only ones either of us are still in contact from then. Funny how life works out. And where are all the women looking to a) put some effort in and b) make some new friends? The closest I've come to really finding those sort of people in Joburg (since Bean & I broke up) has honestly been bloggirls. Anyhoo, it was a great evening ... and now I wish it'd stop raining.
Oh, and how freaking typical is this? Today I'm feeling great, the best I've felt in a while ... because today I have the doctor's appointment I scheduled on Tuesday when I was feeling like crap.
Posted by phillygirl at 1/29/2009 07:08:00 am
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Well last night didn't turn out quite as planned. Was scheduled to go and watch Revolutionary Road with J9-double0blonde and Squeak. But because of the way I was feeling I didn't think I'd be up for it. Well let me be more honest here. Generally Varen's alarm has been going off at 5am. Mine goes off again at 5:40am and I'm out of bed by 6am. It's so I can get to work by 7am and be out of here at 15h30. I'm on a different schedule to most people, and I like it. I get to mostly miss the terrible Joburg traffic and I get to spend the afternoon in the sun with my bunnies (if the cloud cover ever let's it actually shine thru these days!). Lately I've been going swimming at the gym after work, but I'm still home by 5pm. All of this means I go to bed at 21h30, I know, how very school-going-child of me. But I'd rather get my work day out of the way and enjoy the sunshine of free afternoons ... to be honest, mostly I enjoy not wasting 2 hours of my day in traffic.
Yesterday the movie was starting at 19h45. When did movies get so late?! We still say the 5 o'clock or 7 o'clock show, but it never really starts then. So I worked out that actually, it's the trailers that start at 19h45, they'll go on for, say, half an hour (!) and then your 1 hour 57 minute movie starts. Throw in an almost half hour drive home (from anywhere in Joburg basically) and it's coming on 23h00. And sadly one doesn't fall instantly asleep when one arrives home. So if I'm lucky I'm asleep by 23h30 ... all to be woken by a 5am alarm. I don't think so. Maybe I'm getting old, and maybe it's just my schedule, but I have realised that I am no longer interested (able?) in movie-going during the week ... unless any of you are up for a 5pm show?:) I probably would've gone if it was a Thursday night tho ;)
Varen was supposed to go climbing, but he wasn't in the mood for that either. So we headed to F!sh for half-price Tuesday sushi (I have had a real craving!). Sadly I have nothing good to say. I've sworn off my old favourite, Sakura, because they started seriously padding their California Rolls & Fashion Sandwiches with rice ... well oh my, you have never seen sushi padded with rice as at F!sh's half-price Tuesday sushi-go-round (have never eaten their sushi before so can't speak for how their normal sushi is?). But the place was pretty packed, even at 6pm. Seriously, does no one have sushi-standards anymore? Plus, I must've seen the same things going round-and-round-and-round. They didn't bother to make anything very interesting at all! I will so not be going back to F!sh for this!
And another thing, obviously the mass of people there last night is just an indication of how desperate people are for "cheap" sushi. What I can't work out is why sushi is so expensive. It's not cause of the ingredients (for the most part) and it can't be the chef's skill ... anyone who's made sushi at home will know both of these things! The problem I find (why I don't just make it myself at home) is that you always end up making more than you can eat (even if there are 6 of you!) and sushi is not made to survive the night, it's gotta be eaten fresh! Sigh. It's times like this that I just feel everyone is out to screw everyone else, to charge as much as they can and not provide.
Anyway, I am thankfully feeling much better this morning and am even able to breathe easily ;) It's the small things. Oh, and while I was typing this I got the best surprise! I just got an email from Peter Church. Okay, that may not seem so exciting to any of you, but let me explain: His email was short and just said he'd voted for me in the 2009 Bloggies and he loved my Dark Video review. How cool is that?!? See, it really is the small things :)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
We had a good Monday night. I made Thai-style Chicken and Butternut (we don't really have Pumpkin soup here is South Africa) Soup. It was delish and even Varen who thought my Nam Jim Chicken was too Thai for him, loved it :) Looking forward to the left-overs for lunch!
I also managed to trance Lily. Weird, I know, but it's something we'd read about with Bell and have never really successfully managed to do it to any of them ... till Lily. (that's her in the photo on the right lying tranced on my legs - yes, without her ears she does look a little like a mole :P)
"The tranced state of your rabbit is actually an instinct. Rabbits will play dead and wait for an opportunity to escape when captured by a predator."
Lily is the easiest bunny in the world to trance ... although it is completely freakish to see! I've read some conflicting stories about whether or not rabbits enjoy being tranced some say it all depends on the rabbit in question and some say it's the most relaxed they'll ever be. Bell used to sort of do it to herself by rolling over against a wall. Coal seems to do something similar too. Either way, I won't be doing it to Lily too often :) But she is definitely no longer as skittish as Henna and has even started getting friendly with me, climbing up onto my lap when we sit in the garden - although Coal got a bit jealous yesterday afternoon and chased her off ... I think he thinks my lap is his domain alone.
In other news, I'm finally admitting that I am sick. Not very sick, I don't think ... but a lingering sort of cold type sick :P Blegh. If I'm honest. I've probably been like this since we got back from Morocco! Eep. But these days it's just getting annoying. I'm blasted by the air-con at work (I sit directly opposite it) and Varen can't sleep without the fan on us at night. Eithere I boil under the duvet or get frozen by the constant draft :( I'm on a mission today to invest in some serious Vitamin C and other cold-remedys. I'm sick of barely beaing able to breathe when I wake up in the mornings and coughing and living on strepsils for my throat. I never get sick. This is very frustrating :(
Monday, January 26, 2009
On Friday night we didn't get up to much at all. But on Saturday we got the admin out of the way and in the afternoon headed off for Varen's birthday night-away. So I know it probably sounds crazy going away for a night in Krugersdorp, but I was looking for somewhere less than an hour & half drive from home and I have a soft spot for crazy little places, so when I found Gastehuisie (Afrikaans for Guest House) online, it moved to my number one choice. Actually I gave Varen a choice of 6 places that he could choose between (it was his birthday night-away after all ;) ) and he choose this one too!
It's so fun. Okay it's a lot more actually "in Krugersdorp" than I was really expecting, but once you're behind their big wooden gates, you can forget that. It's like a fantasy land :) There are crazy mosaics everywhere, the coolest koi fish pool I've ever seen! Along with very friendly koi fish, one of which will even jump right out of the water if he thinks you have food (lucky I got a well-timed photo for you!)
I don't know how many rooms they have, but the rooms were sadly quite ordinary inside (none of the zaniness of the communal areas or outside). But fine enough. It's quite cool that the hot water is gas-heated ... until the people in the room next door get home at around 1am and decide on a hot bath. Noisy!
For dinner on Saturday evening, we decided to try out Silverstar Casino (having only actually realised where it was as we drove passed it en route to Krugersdorp!). It truly is an odd-looking building as you drive past, but quite lovely when you get up close. It's a pretty small casino in my opinion, but it's got a stunning water feature ;) Varen & I took a break between our starter & main meal to head out onto the deck / boardwalk area to watch the spectacular fountain display. And it really is spectacular. If you go to Silverstar for no other reason than to watch the fountains at play at least once, it'd be worth it ;) Wish I'd had my camera along, but we really had no idea we'd see more than just the inside of another casino.
We decided on dinner at Steak, to be honest there isn't all that much restaurant choice - I said it was a pretty small casino (compared to Monte & Grand West). But, our food was good. I started with a Prawn Cocktail (they charge extra for avocado, can you believe it?!) and Varen had snails (with extra bacon). For mains I had their Biltong, Avo & Cheese Fillet. It was decent enough, although I didn't finish it - was so full by then! Varen had Lamb Shank which I think he really enjoyed. And they have someone coming round to the tables selling biltong too. Needless to say, dinner cost more than our night away ;) But it was definitely a fun night-away and I think we were in dire need of it.
Sadly we headed home quite early on Sunday morning because Varen had to head into work :( I lazed at home watching series and the buns ... until he got home and then he went to get his haircut & do our weekly shop while I went off to the tweet-up at Cool Runnings.
Hmmm, the tweet-up. It was interesting. Nothing quite like I expect a blogger-meet would be tho. And to be honest I don't know that I'll be bothering to attend another one. I just don't know tweeple in the way I know people who's blogs I read. I guess it's cause I don't follow twitter constantly and I certainly don't follow all the people who were there yesterday ... it's like meeting up with random strangers where the only common ground is that you all use the same application. But with bloggers, you really get to know someone who you read on a daily or even weekly basis. I dunno, maybe it's just me. Also, I don't expect that someone following me on twitter would have nearly any sort of idea who I am as a person ... but someone who reads my blog, well then you'd know nearly everything ;)
I stayed about 2 hours, for one delish Vanilla Mojito and then went home to Varen, Coal & Lily. Varen had bought them a nice basil treat so I gave it to them outside (annoying the garden is still completely sodden!) Aren't they just the cutest? I included the pic of Lily with the PnP Basil packet so you could see just how tiny she still is.
Sadly tho, we have figured out that the pet shop must've lied when we bought Coal and he is not a dwarf bunny. I just thought they were lying about how old he was when we bought him, but I guess not. I should've known from his gorgeous giant ears tho. So it'll be interesting. At just over 2 months old he's probably the size of a fully grown dwarf bunny ... so we'll see how big he actually gets. Damn I hope he can still fit in the hutch ;) So I guess even when they're fully grown, he'll be our Big Boytjie and she'll be Little Lily. Anyway, he's still my favourite boy! He's got such a lovely gentle nature. And Lily has settled in well after a week with us :) And her fur is definitely growing back!
Friday, January 23, 2009
Whoo hoo, what an amazing way to start the day ;) I found a very uplifting email in my inbox this morning from Nikolai Nolan and the 2009 Bloggies. Glad to be a Girl is (again) a finalist for Best African Weblog. Thanks to all who nominated moi :) And now the real voting begins! Please head over to the 2009 Bloggies and cast your vote before the 2nd February (that's 11 days, people!).
And now onto normal programming ;) Yesterday my traffic (un?) luck continued. As I left work and turned onto the Rivonia on-ramp, a giant "abnormal load" truck got stuck (I assume it was there doing some kind of construction-related job due to all the highway work being done at the moment ... actually it turned out to be carrying one of those digger-type vehicles) all the way across both lanes of the on-ramp. I am *not* kidding. We were stuck there (being an on-ramp there was no on-coming traffic lane to turn into and get out of there). And we were jam-packed, it being almost rush-hour and all. It eventually got out of the way, but it was enough to put me off gym (if it weren't still January, I would've gone, but I know that if you aren't there early enough these days, all the pool lanes are full!). So instead I went home, uploaded some new bunny pics for yesterday's post and played with Coal&Lily. Lily was actually even acting slightly more friendly to me.
They are the funniest buns, at about 6pm every evening, before it's even dark out, they seem to "put themselves to bed" (by that I mean they go and sit upstairs in their hutch and stop playing in the garden). Last night we brought them inside again once it was dark and they slept so nicely together in their indoor "bed" (sadly no pics cause they don't come out very well in the evening lighting). They are completely cute!
And I bet you're all wondering what was in store for dinner from my new-year-new-recipes challenge. I made Chicken & Broccoli with Oyster Sauce ... Varen declared it an 8 out of 10. I really liked it too ... but it's still 2nd to the Nam Jim Chicken ;)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Sigh. Double Sigh. I drove to work for over an hour this morning. My mood now reflects the weather, dark and stormy. Don't even try talking to me now. And I have a meeting later I'm dreading. Blegh.
So as you may have gathered, the traffic this morning was terrible. But the driving was nothing like I experienced on my way home from poker last night, seriously, what is up with people? It's close on 11pm, there is a very determined thunder storm darkening and drenching the roads. I'm in the middle of three lanes that (surprise surprise) all turn into three lanes on the next road. I'm in the middle, with a car on my left and right. And what does idiot lady on my right do, not turn into her lane but rather, as if she was jealous or something, she turns into my lane ?! This naturally leaves me with no where to go (car on my left too and all!). Sigh. Two robots later I see a dude behind me driving with no lights on. Hello? And that was just the driving. Let me not even begin to discuss my amazement at the state of our roads. Not potholes or any such thing this time, mind you. Last night I noticed just how useless it is to even try seeing the dividing markers between lanes when the roads are flooding. They're freaking invisible. Thank goodness I barely passed another 6 cars on my way home - obviously everyone else was smartly tucked up in bed.
Poker last night was fun. I was not on top form tho ... although I did miraculously come 3rd and manage to bring home half of my original contribution. Me thinks 2 months of no play makes one rusty.
Another (hysterical) bizarre thing I heard yesterday as I listened to my podcasts on my way to Poker was JZ doing a blurb for a BBC Documentary on George Bush. Seriously. Needless to say I was surprised.
Oh, and I remembered something else (while I'm rambling to try and recover from the start to my day) ... When I got home from poker, Varen told me I'd missed some goings on at home. Apparently Coal went from only climbing up one stair to charging all the way up the staircase and into the bedroom before Varen caught up with him. Haha. I spose he is quite a bit bigger than Bell & Henna were when they were "learning" about the stairs. And on top of that he also climbed up into our tv cabinet! Varen took some pics, so I might post some later this afternoon. How funny, I'm sorry I missed it :)
Update 16h42: Added the pics. In the first one you can see Coal flopped in the Elephant grass (looks like it's pretty much dead!) pot ... just like Henna used to lie! And in the second you can see Lily in Varen's hand just after her 2nd last Panacur dosing - she does not like it at all! Pity the lighting wasn't very good so she's either blurry or has red eyes :( This was the best of a bad bunch, but you can certainly see how tiny my little girl actually is :)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Nothing too exciting to report. Tuesday night was much the same as Monday night. Some more gym, some dinner ... which was better than Monday night :) I made Lamb and Risoni with Mustard Sauce. Didn't spend as much time just sitting and watching my gorgeous buns yesterday tho, because I whacked Intrepid Ibex and installed Windows 7 on my laptop. But I did manage to put up those pics on yesterday's post that I promised. Isn't Lily just darling ;) She reminds me so much personality-wise of Henna. And I accidentally called Coal "Fizzy" yesterday ... because he reminds me of my folk's boy-border-collie! Mad, I know.
Oh, and I didn't go to the Joburg Tweetup in Sandton last night either ... I thought about it, I did. Until it actually got to Tuesday and then I changed my mind completely and decided not to go. I'm not a big twitterer, I generally don't participate in the million conversation streams between everyone so I'm not really sure if I wanna meet up irl yet ... you know? Somehow it seems completely different than when I actually arranged for the bloggirls to meet up. I knew them, I read them daily. Twitter is just something going on sorta in the background for me. For me it's mostly a lot of overheard stompies ... bit's of conversations between people where you didn't catch half of it. I don't know what I'd talk to them about if I met up with them. Anyway, on with Wednesday ...
Posted by phillygirl at 1/21/2009 07:24:00 am
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Last night was another typical Monday in our house. Except I went to gym after work (felt guilty after skipping on the weekend ... in our defence we did try on Sunday afternoon but the pool lanes at Brightwater & Randburg were all full :P). And Varen had to work late ...
I spent oodles of time outside with Coal & Lily yesterday afternoon and took some fab pics of our new little girl ... but sadly my computer is rather indisposed at the moment as it is preparing for a change in operating system: yes that's right, I'm leaving Linux behind and heading back to good old Windows (7). Hopefully I will get a chance to add the pics to this post later this afternoon. She's a real cutey, I love watching her stand up on her back legs (she does this a lot more than any of the others did ... and I've noticed Coal doing it a bit more too?). Another thing we've noticed that these do a lot more of is licking their "lips". We see that little pink tongue darting in and out of their mouths often (very cute really). I hardly ever remember seeing Bell or Henna's tongue.
In other news, the dinner dish of the day was Hot & Sour Steamed Fish with Thai Salad. It's my 5th dish in my new-year-new-recipes challenge and it was my first disappointment. It wasn't that it flopped or anything, the fish was fine enough (I'm not a huge fan of fish, truth be told). It was the salad, it was completely over-powering. I felt my lips purse with every bite. Every bite a different pungent flavour (it had mint, coriander, basil, mango and a chili-lime dressing ... too much!). Now I don't think we have un-adventurous taste-buds, but this was just too too much, even for us. Won't be making it again.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Wow, what a weekend! Probably the best so far this year :)
It started with Squeak's birthday dinner on Friday night at Fino. Sadly Varen had to work late :( Now let me start with the fact that I have only eaten at this restaurant once before, years ago ... with Bean (that's how long ago!). I was not impressed then. Except by the butternut & feta salad accompanying my meal. That was the best I've ever tasted.
So, we arrived at 8pm for dinner. We eventually got to order drinks. I can't even remember when we finally got to order our meals either. We didn't eat till after 21h30. The service was horrendous. I think there were 2 waitresses for the entire place, on a Friday night. Which brings me to another point. I don't have any idea why the place had as many tables as it did. I didn't especially find the menu appealing and the food was, meh. Average. Oh, and did I mentioned quite pricey for what's on offer. Needless to say it wasn't a spectacular dinner experience, and Varen didn't miss much. I won't be going back.
Saturday was Varen's 27th birthday. The night before, while he was at work, I'd cleaned up the house (yes, okay the maid had been, but I removed all the general crap that piles up to more appropriate storage spots) and put out the flowers I'd bought him. I felt a little bad that he didn't get a "gift to open" from me ... but, I'm taking him away for a night next weekend and I was cooking breakfast for his entire family, I figured that'd have to do ;)
The day was fabulous. His family arrived around 9am (there were 8 of us into total) and we had a scrumptious champagne breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato&bean mix, white & brown toast, crumpets, cheese muffins and lots of champers & OJ! What a lovely morning we had :) Coaly was running around in the garden, we had all the garden doors wide open and our 8-seater dining room table was full :)
After breakfast, we hung out for a bit waiting for all the food to settle before the coffee & cake started (Varen's mom had baked & brought a massive chocolate cake for him!). And then we packed Coal into the car and we all headed off to Varen's folks to hang out for the rest of the day. We took Coal along because we were planning on finding him a new little sister - on Friday I'd been round to all the local pet shops and they had no dwarf bunnies available :( I was quite upset that we might not get a baby this weekend! But we found the most darling little girl in the Eastgate pet shop, we've named her Lily.
I'll tell you now that I was super unimpressed with the pet shop people! The woman there told me they weren't dwarf bunnies - when I could clearly see by their size there was no way they were normal bunnies. When I asked the owner how old Lily was, he said "a couple of months". She was tiny, the same size Bell & Henna were when we got them, smaller than Coal was when we got him. There's no way she's more than 4 or 5 weeks. He said he's had her a week & half already so I was a little worried whether she was actually weaned or not. And she was just so lovely, but so in need of a new home & some attention. She's almost bald on her hind quarters, I think probably from being in a tiny cage (smaller than the bottom half of our hutch) with 3 adult dwarf bunnies, another baby and 3 guinea pigs! And one thing the vet told me was you don't mix guinea pigs & bunnies, they fight and attack each other. We figure with our love and attention she'll be back to sleek in a matter of weeks :)
I was more than thrilled to get her away from there! Once we had her back at Varen's folks house in half the hutch with Coal, she was as happy as can be. Eating and drinking like normal (shoo, one worry down ... was having visions of phoning the vet to find out what you can feed an un-weaned baby bunny!). And the super-duper bonus is that she & Coal hit it off immediately. They're quite taken with each other and already cuddle up when sleeping. They are adorable to watch together :) (But no, there'll be no baby bunnies arriving ... Coal is still scheduled to be snipped as soon as he's old enough!)
We didn't do much on Saturday evening other than enjoy watching our buns bond. I just can't get enough of my cute little girl. And she's got the most incredible colouring. As you can see she's got beautiful blue-grey eyes, a thick white stripe down her face and one white ear. But the rest of her fur is a blue-grey colour with light brown tips. It's quite lovely.
On Sunday Varen had to work :( So I went out shopping for our week's meals and stayed home playing with the buns ... annoying that the grass was so sodden with water from Saturday night's giant thunder storm! This week we're having Hot and Sour Steamed Fish with Thai Salad, Grilled Lamb and Risoni with Mustard sauce and Chicken and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce. Finger's crossed ;)
On Sunday afternoon tho, I had a minor freak out. Went outside to check on the buns and Coal was lying the same way I found Henna, stretched out, completely on his side with his eyes open. OMG. My heart stopped for a second. But he was fine, just resting I think. I kept a very close eye on his the rest of the day and he was his usual bouncy self. But we still took them in to the vet at about 6pm to pick up the Panacur (was going to fetch it after work today, but I wasn't taking any chances). So both of them have started their 5-day course of preventative Panacur. Was so hard to leave them this morning, Lily is so cute, but very skittish, don't think I'm having any luck getting her to be friendlier than Henna! As soon as I opened the curtains this morning she ran into the box (their private space) and wouldn't come out again. On the plus side, I'm impressed that she's already getting in and out of the hutch all on her own. But I think she's going to be a handful :) She already discovered the downstairs loo and is running around inside a lot more than Coal ... will have to start closing the door again!
Btw. weighed them both at the vet yesterday, Coal is a whopping 900g and Lily is a teeny 300g.
After they'd had their first dose of Panacur, I felt safe enough to venture out the house so Varen & I went to watch Burn After Reading.
A dark spy-comedy from Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen. The memoir of an ousted CIA official (John Malkovich) accidentally falls into the hands of two gym employees (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) intent on exploiting their find.
It was quite brilliant, I completely enjoyed it ... although it was completely mad. Brad Pitt was hysterical and John Malkovich as creepy as ever. Sadly we had some moron sitting behind us who laughed when nothing happened ... seriously, he must've laughed out loud about 40 times in the first ten minutes and I just wanted to turn around and say "Dude, nothing has happened yet". Idiot. But a good movie. Watch it.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Yay, another Friday. And this one is quite important ... after work I have a lengthy list of last minute things to get done before Varen's birthday tomorrow! So far we haven't planned much, been a bit out of the birthday spirit with the way the year started. But we're having his family over for a champagne brunch tomorrow morning (that'll be 8 of us in total!). Should be fun. I've also booked us a night away as my gift to him (for next weekend tho) ... which I think we are in dire need of after all the stress of the last 2 weeks (Yes folks, still no word on Henna's autopsy results!!).
I'm still a completely paranoid crazy person without these results! Yesterday while I was cooking dinner (Prawn, snow-pea and wild rice salad with cranberry vinigrette - not too shabby, but the Nam Jim Chicken still wins my new-year-new-recipes best-of-the-week award) Coal climbed up and sat on the little fence I've got around the plants ... and I think he ate one of the succulent flowers. It took Varen about half an hour to calm me enough so that I could sleep, assuring me he wasn't going to die. Well, I guess we still don't know, but he logiced me into believing it was highly improbable. (He's thankfully still perfectly fine this morning) See, I'm a crazy person. But he's getting quite nimble, he's not quite the brave intrepid explorer Bell was, but he's still an explorer! He climbed up our brick wall like Spiderman the other day ... he was wedged between the wall and half the hutch, but still ... he was almost a meter off the ground and terrified (I think) when I plucked him off and gave him a cuddle. Ideally I'd like to get him a little friend this weekend for Varen's bday ... but obviously that's not happening without autopsy results. Sigh.
Update @ 09h46: Had a long chat with the Vet earlier. They finally got the results from Henna's autopsy last night. Looks like it was that damned Encephalitozoonosis parasite. Although they didn't find any samples of the parasite left in her system, the organ damage in her kidney, liver and brain are consistent with what the parasite causes :( My poor girls! They say the damage would've been caused in a matter of days, not weeks. It's a bit like AIDS where you can have it for ages without developing symptoms. But usually what triggers an attack of the symptoms is stress or illness. We're assuming the wooden plank falling on Bell triggered it in her and the loss of her life-long pal Bell is what triggered it in Henna. Both very stressful situations. Sigh. It's so sad. But I'm helluva relieved that it wasn't a plant toxin (after last night!). The pathologists ruled that out completely and said there was no sign whatsoever of plant toxin in Henna's stomach or stomach lining. Shoo. So Coal will probably start another 5-day round of Panacur on Sunday or Monday. Hopefully this weekend we can find him a new little bunny-friend tho and start them both on the 5 Days of Panacur at the same time. Apparently one can not over do the Panacur, so bring it on :)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Last night's new-year-new-recipes dinner of Nam Jim Chicken was a great success :) I absolutely loved it and although I didn't have quite all the right ingredients (can you even buy Coriander Root in this country??), it worked out perfectly. Varen was even impressed with the display, like restaurant food he said! Even I was impressed which is why there happens to be a photo :). Pity he is not as much of a fan of Thai food as I am ... because it was my favourite dish of the week. He went and polished off the left over gnocchi instead :( That's not to say he didn't eat the chicken, it was just the "fiddly" bits he left, the sprouts, basil and coriander. I ate mine along with my chicken and it went wonderfully! I've even put it all together on a sarmie for lunch today. This new dinner plan is working wonderfully to provide me with lunch :) As promised, as soon as I get round to trying the recipe a 2nd time, I will blog the recipe with pics ... I just prefer to make sure it's really delish before going to the effort ;)
Oh, which reminds me, I put up the cute pic of Coal-a-roo that I promised on yesterday's post. He's still fine ... although was in a funny unfriendly lone-bunny kinda mood yesterday evening, which immediately sets warning bells ringing in my ears. Still no word on Henna's autopsy results tho ... I promise you'll be one of the first to know!
I also wanted to jot down two things that drive me inexplicably crazy:
Firstly, why (oh why!) do people who live in a complex leave their front doors wide open?!? I know you have a security gate, but seriously .... the door right onto the walkway. Sure, I completely understand having those 2 big double glass doors onto the garden open, especially in this weather. I do it all the time. Onto my *private* garden. But all of you (literally I think it is almost every 2nd door I walk past to get to our unit) leave your front doors wide open to the world. It irritates the crap out of me and I think someone should either walk into your house when you do this or go and close your door (I am often tempted but never had).
Secondly, people who randomly sing. All. The. Time. Our cleaning lady at work is back from Christmas holiday and she does it. I can't begin to explain how much it drives me nuts. It doesn't even sound coherent. It's like someone constantly mumbling next to you. Yeah yeah, maybe she's happy and filled with bliss and just needs a way to express it. I don't think so. Mostly I think it's one of the most inconsiderate things people can do when in regular public places. I don't have a choice, I have to hear it. It was nice and quiet and now you've ruined it with "your version" of singing. Naturally I put my iPod straight in, if I can. Please note: I don't actually have anything against people singing under the right circumstances ... and if they're doing it properly, like with words you can hear and people are there to listen etc. It's this half-under-the-breath constant noise that invades my brain and drives me crazy. This is right up there with peopel who talk in the cinema. Luckily I've never had to experience this sort of "singing" in the cinema or I think I might explode. I have, however, had to endure it while paying for items in a checkout queue. I. Just. Don't. Get. It. What goes on in a person's mind who sort-of-sings to themselves around other people who can not escape (like when I'm working at my desk or waiting to pay, I'd leave immediately if I could!).
Ah, I feel a little better after that vent :) And to finish off, I wanted to mention that the bloggirls events for 2009 are getting started again. I have a full year planned, and this year looks to be even more fun for us bloggirls living in Joburg! So if you are a girl-blogger living in Joburg and want to join us for one of these get togethers and meet some truly fabulous women, sign up for the January event!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Okay, so this is my final Spain-Portugal-Morocco-2008-Trip-in-retrospect post. I just felt like I had to finish off by warning you all to never, ever have an 8 hour stop over in an airport ... unless perhaps that airport is in Singapore and they have free internet stations and whatnot. Madrid airport is easily walked about a bajillion times in 8 hours. And we did. Till we were exhausted. Till I never wanted to see another duty-free shop again. That little backgammon set came in super handy!
But, I did make a duty-free splurge purchase :) (who doesn't?). Instead of the usual perfume (since I'd bought myself a new bottle in January), I got myself some stunning Swarovski crystal earrings (I think they're the Bella Pierced Earrings on their site). They cost about as much as the perfume would've ;)
Oh, and I just remembered about our amusing flight from Marrakech to Madrid. All the announcements were in French (for the Moroccans) and Spanish (obviously). We didn't have a clue what was potting! And my lamp didn't fit into the overhead compartment so I figured they'd take it from me and return it after we'd landed ... you know, as they do. Oh no, they just looked at me and said "well where am I supposed to put it?". They let us keep it on the spare seat for the entire flight. Boy did I laugh because even Kulula won't let you have your handbag on your lap during take-off and landing ... let alone a giant metal & glass lamp!
Luckily it did fit in the overhead compartment of our far bigger plane back to Joburg. And Oh. My. Word. Was I amazed at the improvements to Ort's International Arrivals area. They actually had customs people ... and we sped thru there faster than they could get our luggage out. My most pleasant arrival-home airport experience to date.
Damn, I took such a cute photo of Coal last night I was going to upload for today's post ... but I forgot to do it last night and now I'm at work (photo is at home), so will have to do it when I get home. He is such a cutey. But I can really see the differences between having one bunny and two. We saw it with Bell & Henna as well, I'm sure the extra month as a baby that Bell spent alone with us is what made her a much friendlier, happy to be cuddled girl. Henna was much happier hanging out with her bunny-pal Bell than getting cuddles from us. Coal is very sweet with us at the moment because he's getting so much attention.
Update @ 16h19 > and there's the cute pic I was telling you about :) Light last night wasn't so great so it's a bit blurry, but I think he's just adorable, munching on that big spinach leaf!
Last night for dinner I made creamy pesto chicken with gnocchi for dinner. Varen & I are really enjoying the new dinner plan :) We are eating well and the time-to-table has been pretty quick. All it takes is a little preparation the weekend before. We watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall as we ate.
Composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) has spent five years adoring his girlfriend, television star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), despite living completely in her shadow. He even works as the composer for Sarah's CSI-type crime drama that also stars William Baldwin, Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime, a job that dramatically underutilizes his talents. One day, Sarah comes to Peter's place to tell him she's breaking up with him and there's someone else. Devastated, Peter impulsively starts having sex with random strangers, but he is still unable to overcome his grief. He decides to take a trip to Hawaii and stay at a resort Sarah once mentioned, where he is confronted by Sarah and her new boyfriend, articulate, narcissistic British-rocker, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).
Ah, it's a pretty typical break-up and recover by meeting a new amazing person only for your ex to realise their mistake and want you back. Sigh.
Am hoping to finally get Henna's autopsy results today. Seems some of the stains they have to do take a while which is why we haven't heard yet.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
We said goodbye to everyone at breakfast this morning and headed off to the Medina one last time. Varen got a good traditional single-blade shave. Smoo-ooth!
It is quite boring wandering the Medina now that I've bought everything I want and your certainly begin to notice how stall after stall is selling the same thing. I preferred it when it was still a novelty and a new experience for me, bright and colourful and I felt like a magpie overwhelmed with new things to look at. I think I'm now definitely ready to be heading home. In the end I can comfortably say I've enjoyed my holiday ... even after questioning it completely a few days ago. I think all trips like this, where one is traveling for more than 2 weeks, have ups and downs. Especially when traveling with strangers, it is easy to become despondent. I really enjoyed having Varen join me, although I know it would've been even better having him around for the full 3 weeks. I am very happy to see how well we travel together because I was a little nervous initially ... I know I can be quite particular and need to be organised (till I join the tour and then it becomes someone else's problem!)
Anyway, now we are flying to Madrid where we have an 8 hour stop-over and a boarding-pass hurdle to jump (they wouldn't give us both before we left Morocco and Varen doesn't have a Schengen Visa so who knows what'll happen!) before our final flight home to Joburg.
So another uneventful Monday evening at home :) But I have 2 fun things to report:
Firstly, my little boy is great. He's such a cutie and I could watch him all afternoon, racing around the garden at top speed and randomly jumping about, honestly he always looks surprised! It's sorta like teleporting, one minute he's in one spot and the next he's half a meter away :) In other exciting news, he climbed up the first step of our stairs yesterday (we've stopped blocking them off since the girl's died as Coal hadn't yet figured out that they're there). It's so cute. I remember when Bell & Henna were just getting big enough to climb the stairs too.
Secondly I made some yummy Veal Parmigiana for dinner last night. It was so quick and easy and tasted delish (think I will try some aubergine & courgettes next time tho). I even brought the leftovers in for lunch today. The new recipe, eating-less-instant-food plan is working :)
Monday, January 12, 2009
Went to try out a Hammam this morning. But it wasn't the traditional one. Instead it was a more private one probably aimed specifically at tourist who aren't used to public bathing.
I started with an hour-long massage while Varen "Hammam-ed" (girls & boys are kept separate for obvious reasons). The massage was brilliant and far more thorough than any other I've ever had. It was pretty much full frontal, aside from the small area covered by my bikini bottoms, they even massaged my face!
And when I was long passed tinking the hour must surely be up, she told me to flip over and started on my back.
Then Varen & I swapped and I went into the Hammam. It's a pretty peculiar experience being washed by someone else. A skinny Moroccan girl in pink ski-pants and top poured water over me in a little pink heated room. Then she rubbed their paste-like soap over my body and left me lying there for probably about 10 minutes. I had no idea what was going on (they only spoke Moroccan or French, I only speak English, you can imagine). It was pretty boring with only drips running down the wall for entertainment. Then she came back, rinsed me off and loofah-ed me with a scratchy glove before rubbing an exfoliating mask-type thing over my body and, once again, disappearing. When she came back, she rinsed me off and washed my hair and sponged my whole body and face before a final rinse. And interesting experience.
After that, we went for lunch - I tried a nice seafood Pastilla ... I'm going to miss Pastilla's, I must see if there are any Moroccan restaurants in Joburg (if you know of any, please leave me a comment!), I really have enjoyed the cuisine here!
We spent the afternoon on a bus back to Marrakech. Varen & I skipped the farewell dinner - I suspected it'd be back in the Medina market place like our first dinner and that it would be just as poorly attended (turned out I was right). So Varen decided instead on Pizza Hut for dinner. I don't think I've ever eaten at Pizza Hut and if I did it was more than 10 years ago! I was sceptical since the menu was all in French but, it turned out to be delish! I had a deep pan pizza with chicken, pepperoni and green peppers. It was 100 time better than Romans (which I absolutely hate but is my only other think-base pizza experience).
Then we went back to the hotel where I had a Mint Tea (I know, who'd have thought I'd be drinking so much tea here since I never touch the stuff at home!) and Varen ahd a coffee while we played a few games of Backgammon. We'd specially bought and brought along a little magnetic set that till now hadn't been used at all! And then we went to pack our bags, very carefully in preparation for our trip home tomorrow.
Well, this weekend was far less eventful than last weekend, thankfully! But unfortunately we're still waiting on Henna's autopsy results :( Finger's crossed we'll hear today.
On Friday I had Coal with me at work again and I was definitely the paranoid mom. Here's some excerpts of the instant messaging between Varen & I:
(08:56:11) Phillygirl: coaly sitting on my lap
(09:26:27) Varen: pick him up under his belly and see if he thrashes about
(09:26:54) Phillygirl: he does ... well he did less than half an hour ago
(09:27:05) Varen: then he's still okay
(09:27:39) Phillygirl: but he's not eating ... what if it's a poisonous thing he ate and now he's not eating cause he feels yuck and then the next thing is the rest ... :(
(09:38:51) Phillygirl: he just had a big stretch and made a funny sound :)
(09:39:01) Phillygirl: now is awake and grooming again
(09:39:10) Varen: you see ? just resting
(09:39:26) Phillygirl: just freaking me out!
(09:46:37) Phillipa: maybe i should try getting him some diff pellets ?
(09:46:52) Varen: i don't think that's the answer baby.
(09:46:58) Phillygirl: i dunno how long it's been since he's eaten these pellets
(09:47:36) Phillygirl: maybe i should pop out to woolies now then. but he ate carrot last night.
(09:47:49) Varen: go get some basil
(10:22:39) Phillygirl: i got some basil & mint & some new fancy ass bunny food
(10:23:39) Phillygirl: yep he's eating the basil at the moment
(10:32:24) Phillygirl: he's stopped eating the basil and is back to the grass
(10:32:55) Varen: you're watching him too closely babe.. give him some space.
(10:42:17) Phillygirl: now he's seems to be sleeping again. this sleeping things worries me ... but i guess it is almost midday.
(11:01:25) Phillygirl: eep, the maid is spraying mr min ... .do you think he'll be okay ?
(11:09:23) Phillipa: checked him again ... he's getting annoyed with it i think ;)
(11:09:47) Phillygirl: eating more basil tho :) yippee
(13:19:36) Phillygirl: he's AWAKE ! and eating basil again :)
(13:41:14) Phillygirl: sleeping again ...
(14:29:01) Phillipa: he's eating the new pellets :)
(15:23:57) Phillygirl: he's eating pellets again :)
See, I'm practically certifiable. Well, as I said once to Exmi in my comments section (so I'll say it again cause probably no one reads those anyway), I'm probably more neurotic over these little bunnies than I would be over a kid. Kids will cry and let you know when there's something wrong with them and eventually even be able to communicate with you and let you know more specifically what the problem actually is. Buns don't make a peep. And they're notorious for hiding their ailments and injuries (being prey animals). Which doesn't help when you're looking out for any possible indicator that they're okay or that all is not well. Sigh. Luckily Coal is still fine and seems quite happy really, bounding all over the place. He finished the last of his preventative Panacur yesterday morning. I doubt I'll be fully at ease till the weekend tho. But I haven't brought him to work again with me today ... baby steps :)
On Friday evening, Varen & I tried Tsunami for dinner - yes, an actualy restaurant we haven't been to before! We both had sushi and it was quite delish. I tried some quite different combinations (like pineapple and smoked salmon). I'd go back. After dinner, we went to watch Religulous, which had been recommended to me during lunch by JofH.
Borat director Larry Charles follows former stand-up comedian and "Politically Incorrect" talk-show host Bill Maher in this often funny, often disturbing documentary as he travels the continents interviewing various subjects about God and religion. Known for his astute analytical skills, irreverent wit and commitment to never pulling a punch, Maher brings his characteristic honesty to an unusual spiritual journey. Among those interviewed an ex-Jew for Jesus in the form of Steven Burg, and a Hispanic American preacher who considers himself to be the 2nd coming of Christ.
Hysterical! I'm surprised that Maher wasn't punched even once during the movie tho. I think it's great that someone's made an anti-religion movie. It warms the cockels of my heart :) Let's spread our message, paha. Anyhoo, what surprised me most wasn't the Creationist museum (heard about that one in Year of Living Biblically) but rather, a Holy Land theme park. Seriously folks?
On Saturday Varen & I stayed in our PJs till about 3pm. I made crumpets for breakfast and we watched the lovely drizzly weather from on our couch in between episodes of Series :) What a fabulous way to spend a Saturday!
In the evening J9-double0blonde & I went to see Nick & Norah.
The film introduces us to Nick (Michael Cera), a twenty-something fledgling bass guitarist for peripheral New York indie band 'The Jerk Offs' who has just been dumped by his hottie girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena). In an effort to regain her Nick compiles endless playlists of his favourite music on CD which he sends to her. Tris' friend Norah is a perennial good girl who always plays by the rules who has never met Nick in person, but feels he is a kindred spirit because of his music choices on the CDs she has retrieved from the rubbish bin into which Tris threw them. Fate brings these two unlikely characters together one night when Tris bumps into Norah at a Jerk Offs gig, and Norah, not wanting the popular Tris to think she is without a date yet again, ropes in the cute bass player from the band as her 'stand-in' boyfriend. Needless to say, it isn't too long before she finds out that Nick is Tris' ex whom she has just dumped. However, both Nick and Norah sense a connection to each other through the music they both love as well as well as through each other as individuals.
This was quite sweet, but not nearly as punchy as Juno (what it's being compared to I gather). What I couldn't get over in the movie is just how much driving they're willing to do in one night! I mean maybe it's cause I'm from Cape Town, but seriously folks, there is no way I'd spend that much time driving around in one evening. No way.
On Sunday morning we did a big shop for this week. This year I've decided to start prepared. I have a whole bunch of recipe books I've never really used. So I went thru them and marked which I'd like to try. Now we've at least stocked the fridge with the required ingredients for 3 of the recipes to try this week so there can be no excuses (usually it seems to much hassle to me to go home after work, find a recipe and then head to the shops). Later Varen went climbing with Vori and then we went to visit his folks for the rest of the afternoon.
A good weekend, marred only by the memory that a mere week before, chaos set in and destroyed our happy family. I could not believe it had only been a week. Finger's crossed that this year can only go up from here ...
Friday, January 09, 2009
This morning we had a guided tour around the battlements / fortress along the coast line, the harbour (where they were shooting a Moroccan movie) and the Medina.
After that, Varen & I went and had a huge seafood lunch of prawns, some weird flat crustacean we were told were scampi (but I can't find anything that looks vaguely right online!), spider crab, dorado and sole. How very delish! And so fresh, we literally pointed and chose everything before they cooked it for us.
After that we had a bit of a rest and I finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (that's what's been keeping me occupied on the last few lengthy bus rides).
The end of colonial rule in Africa is shown in microcosm through the tragicomic collapse of a Baptist missionary family. The mother and all four daughters take turns narrating and their distinctive voices are full of life. (The eldest daughter, a kind of Malaprop Barbie, is a hoot.) Arriving full of certainties in the Belgian Congo in 1959, they're in for a series of rude shocks. Father is a hellfire patriarch come to chastise the heathen natives; other members of the family, though cowed, are questioning and observant. The swell of events soon reaches their jungle outpost; and as the country evicts its exploitive Belgian rulers, the women in the family turn away from Father. The novel is unbalanced, not least in structure, with a lengthy what-happened-next driven not by plot demands but by the author's need to get across all she has to say about power, politics and hypocrisy on the international as well as the domestic scale. We forgive her because she is right, and because we couldn't bear to leave these characters. A big, ambitious, funny and moving book.
I enjoyed it, but I constantly had the feeling that I'd read it before. But not in the sense that I knew what was going to happen. Weird. I loved each character's distinct voice.
Then we went out and spent some time wandering the markets. I was sort of determined to buy myself some earrings but things seem quite expensive (in Rand terms). I did end up with some lovely ones tho (sadly not the bunny ones I'd seen first) thanks to some skillful bargaining by Varen - I was so proud, he did the best bargaining job of either of us yet!
And then we went for dinner with the core group. Dinner was not fabulous. The menu on offer certainly looked promising but sadly they didn't have much of it available (because it's their quiet season). We had some fun after dinner sitting in one of our guide Simo's friend's shops listening to them play traditional Gnawa music on a guitar-like instrument.
I think the depression of the last week has actually set in now ... Everything seems futile.I was too afraid to check on Coal this morning, I sent Varen down first. I don't think my heart could take it if he wasn't okay. But then I wake up in the middle of the night and think "Should I check on him". But I know that if we find Coal in anything like the state Bell & Henna were in, there's no hope. He's had the Panacur (day 3 today) which they didn't have so if he shows symptoms, it's either not the parasite or it's too late. I'm terrified. Even if he doesn't get it now, he might get it another time. What if he's a carrier, can we still get him a bunny-buddy?
We should get the results of Henna's autopsy today or tomorrow. I know it was the right thing to do but I just can't bring myself to accept that I'm letting them cut my little girl up. And I don't know what I'm hoping for from the results. Part of me hopes it was a plant that they ate ... then at least I can control the situation in future and get rid of the problem completely and rest a little easier ... although then I'll no doubt have heaps of guilt about Bell & Henna's death because I bought a plant :( If it was the parasite, then it's not my fault and there was nothing muc hI could've done anyway ... but then how do I stop it from happening in future? Neither brings pleasant news.
But Coal is here at work next to me in his hutch again. So far he's perfectly normal. Which does nothing to make me feel any better. Because Henna & Bell were just as fine up until they were completely floppy / paralysed and then dead.
Sob. All I'm trying to do is figure out how to make it thru the next few days ...
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Sob. Who know I'd be writing my wonderful pet-memories again so soon. It's truly been an awful week.
Henna was our real little princess. If she was human, she would've been a total girly girl, with a favourite pink dress :) She wasn't a huge fan of human affection but we cuddled her regularly anyway. She was a real ball of fluff! Our little fatty (well rounded some would say :)).
Varen likes to say that for Henna there were 2 things in the world: things that were food and everything else. She was a muncher of note and feeding her was such a pleasure. She could recognise the sound of a Pick 'n Pay basil packet opening from across the garden :) She loved her treats. She figured out how to get over the fencing and into my veggie garden for treats!
She was also very lazy bunny :) No racing at top speed round the garden for her. Henna like to lie down, strech out and continue munching the grass. She could sleep anywhere ... even caught her once stretched out in the litter bowl.
She also loved Bell. The two of them would go and lie so close together they were almost on top of each other. In a way it's comforting to know they are back together again. Okay, I'd obviously far rather they were both still here with me. But I'm clutching at straws here.
Goodbye and Rest in Peace my Henna-Wenna, my Hen, my little red princess Henna.
On our way out of Taroudant this morning, we stopped at their local tannery and took a quick tour around. It was certainly different to our Fez tannery experience.
This time we were right up close to the work going on and the smell of the pigeon poo was quite strong! They give you basil or mint to sniff as you walk around to try and make it a little more of a tolerable experience. Varen did manage to buy himself a very nice leather computer bag there tho, so well worth it ;)
After that we drove on to Essauouira (another Moroccan place name not short on vowels!) with 2 stops for the crazy Argan-tree-climbing goats. Truly a bizarre sight!
We made a quick stop at a large super market for lunch supplies which we stopped to eat on a long stretch of sandy beach.
We also had a stop at an Argan place that showed us how they processes the nuts by hand to get the oil (I bought some to try in my bath at home).
And then we finally arrived in the lovely little sea-side town of Essaouira. We are staying in a lovely Riad (house with a central garden area) right in the Medina. Took a wander around the town a bit and had a yummy dinner.
Today I'm numb. I'm numb and trying not to burst into tears every time someone speaks to me. It's hard trying to nod every time someone says "Happy New Year" or provide the expected "Fine" when someone says "How are you?". 2009 sucks so far and I'm not fine. Henna died just before 10pm last night. Which after yesterday we were pretty much expecting. Doesn't make it hurt any less!
They're going to do an autopsy on her, dunno how long it'll take to get results, but Coal will be on more of the de-worming Panacur as a preventative for the next few days. I brought him with me to work today because I just can't face going home and finding him in the state Henna was. It seems to afflict them so fast, Henna & Bell have both died within 24 hours of being their perfectly normal selves. At least now, if anything weird happens with Coal he's right here and I'll notice it and can rush him to the vet.
This has made me realise why I like blogging so much tho ... and my Facebook status and Twitter. I am exhausted and emotionally drained from having to tell the whole week's story ending with why I have a rabbit in a hutch next to my desk about 4 times already this morning. With blogging, FB statuses and Twitter, people just know. They don't have to ask me, I don't have to go thru the ordeal of telling the story again. And people can provide the necessary and much appreciated sympathy and empathy. I like it better that way. And needless to say I've opted out of the first Book Club of 2009 this evening. I just can't face people right now. All I want is to be at home, with Varen and Coal and make sure he's okay, all the time. I didn't sleep much last night. Perhaps a little paranoid but I did get up and check on Coal around 3am. Thank goodness he's still perfectly fine. But I'm finding it hard to stay positive and hopeful.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I got home this afternoon at 4pm to find Henna complete flopped on the floor of the hutch. Coal was sitting next to her. She didn't look right. My heart stopped. It nearly didn't start again when I got a closer look, saw her eyes were open and there were ants crawling all over her eyes, in her ears and nose. But I could still see her breathing. I picked her completely floppy body up, put her in the cat box and raced right back out of the house and to the vet. I called their emergency number in advance. Wow can traffic suck when you are in a rush. I even had my hazzard lights on to no avail.
I got Henna there and explained as best I could about Bell (it was a different vet today, the one who'd originally spayed Bell tho) thru my gasped breathes. They gave her a few shots and I went to go and fetch Coal, in my panic I hadn't even thought to bring him along, just in case. Varen left work immediately.
For the record, Coal is still doing fine and running and jumping happily around the garden when given the opportunity. The photo on the left was taken a few days ago when Henna was clearly missing her buddy Bell.
By the time I got back to the vet, Henna had perked up a bit and was able to hold her head up. We were hopeful and Coal got another dose of the de-worming stuff that's supposed to help prevent the neurological parasite they now think is the cause, Encephalitozoonosis. Since Henna has been afflicted with the same symptoms as Bell (actually even worse than when we left Bell at the vet on Saturday morning!), we're now pretty sure Bell's death wasn't caused by the falling plank. But I'm terrified for Henna because I know Bell's prognosis wasn't good :( Henna feels pretty much paralysed. She doesn't react to touch and has no control over her arms and legs. If you pick her up her whole body just lolls in your hands. It's more than dreadful to see her that way.
Varen took Coal home, best to keep him away in case it's catchy. And I stayed with Henna for another hour or so. I couldn't leave, but eventually it was too heart breaking to stay.
I went thru an entire list of possible causes when seeing Henna like this, was it a plant in the garden they ate (took photo's of everything to the vet), was it the flour we'd been using to deter the ants (instead of poison that could be harmful to the bunnies), was it a wasp sting (we've recently found 3 nests we need to get rid of on the upstairs window) ... ? Nearly drove myself nuts trying to think of causes and how to prevent it happening ever again! When the vet mentioned the parasite, we realised it could be the water in a vase we're growing a lily in.
Unfortunately all 3 of the buns have drunk out of the vase. We thought it was quite cute them climbing up there at the time. Now not so much. Have thrown out the entire thing, just in case! Finger's crossed Coal won't be affected because he's had the drops (used more as a preventative measure against the parasite than a cure) on Saturday, before he learnt how to climb all the way up there! And he got some more this evening so we have high hopes he'll make it ... if in fact that was the cause.
Am devastated ... again.
This morning I was up early for the sunrise ... like 5:50am early. Too early as it turned out because our guide was about as good at estimating sunrise as he was about our arrival times in each city! It was freezing but the moon was bright and I waited patiently.
By the time the sun finally rose (probably at least an hour later!), I had plenty of company and was perched on top of the highest nearby dune. It was lovely.
Then we had a speedy breakfast and headed out by Land Rover again. The landscape of the Sahara we saw was certainly varied! The duney parts looked quite similar to Namibia to me. But then there were also quite lush bits (quite strange to see bright green plants covering the ground with a desert dune rising behind it!). Some of it was scrubby with little thorn trees and a lot of it was as flat as far as one could see. There were also plenty of bits just covered with rocks and pebbles.
We had some minor car trouble that caused 2 unscheduled stops where I wandered desperately looking for a fossil in one of the rocks (there are plenty for sale in markets on the way into & out of the desert but finding my own would've just been worth so much more!). Needless to say, I didn't. I don't know if I'd recognise one out in the open like that or even know which types of rocks would be more likely to have fossils!
On our way to Taroudant, we drove for hours. Spending an hour stopped for lunch in a restaurant that is not worth mentioning and then arriving after sunset, again. Today marked the low-point of the trip for me.
When I've traveled in Africa before, I've definitely had days filled by 8 hour drives to the next village or town. But always on my other trips I've come away strong in the knowledge that I've achieved something for that time. That I have some kind of experience more precious that made it worth those hours in trade. I just don't have that feeling from this trip.
I think I have been too vague in my wants. I wanted to "see" Spain, Portugal and Morocco. That was on my list of things to do. Technically I've done it but, I don't feel much of a sense of accomplishment. I don't know what I was expecting to find in these countries and they've left me wanting. I know travel and holidays aren't usually about accomplishment but, that's the best way I can describe it. I want something back, something that's mine to treasure. And often all it is is an experience but, I guess it's usually a more specific experience that just "traveling" (if that makes any sense ... ?)
This time I didn't really do anything specific and I sort of feel that finding the astronaut (admittedly with help) and going to the Western Most Tip of Europe (which is pretty damn cool) are my most unique experiences so far. Even crossing the Strait of Gibraltar was disappointing.
(To be honest, writing up these posts, remembering and going thru the pictures has made me appreciate the trip more than I did while I was actually there)
Anyway, I feel worse for Varen who hasn't experienced group-travel before and has yet to get to spend 2 nights in one place or actually really explore any of the places we've been.
I'm also feeling a little ripped-off by our guide who seems to be guiding us to particular restaurants that haven't been very good althought they've been on the expensive side and he always seems to eat for free. I know there's plenty of that sort of thing on these trips, where the guides bring new people thru on a regular basis and obviously build up a relationship with the owners of particular places but, I've never noticed it so blatantly before.
I joined the group for a walk around Taroudant, I'll admit I sort of felt obliged to see a small part of this city we are passing thru (Varen stayed at the hotel). It turned out to be pretty interesting because we visited a Berber carpet place where they explained different styles of carpets, what each was best for and the different colours that the different tribes favoured. Sadly I have no need of a carpet :(
Varen & I spent the rest of the evening in our hotel room. We had pastries for dinner in bed - not very healthy but, at least it improved our mood!