Friday, April 17, 2009

Puddin' at 16 weeks

Today Puddin’ is 16 weeks old and it has become increasingly obvious to both Hubby and I that we are dealing with a “girly girl.” Oh, she is full of rambunctious mischief and is sometimes referred to as our “Yorkshire Terror,” but she’s definitely girly, nonetheless.

The first clue was when she looted my makeup bag. At first we thought it was just an example of Yorkie high spirits…these dogs are notorious for being energetic, after all…but the next time I opened the bag, I had to fight her off! She dove into the bag head first as if she were diving for treasure…which I suppose, in her little world, was the case. Her first foray into the bag had left the duvet littered with eye pencils and brushes, and she had even managed to extract a lipstick and get the cap off, quite a feat for someone who has no opposable thumbs!

The next clue was how cooperative she seems to be about wearing clothes. She has a small wardrobe of things both practical and pretty, and while she wriggles in protest at diaper time (a precaution against accidents when she is on the furniture or hardwood floors), she is cooperative when I put her onesies on her (usually for bedtime) and gets excited when I bring one of her dresses. She never fights or chews the clothes…even Hubby remarked that she seems to love them.

Grooming is a bit of a different story, but she seems to like having her face and head brushed, but not so much her legs and thighs. But she will sit and raise her chin for the brush to go over her face and throat, the top and back of her head and her ears, She even allows me to put her tiny little topknot in a pony tail with a minimum of fuss. But we weren’t convinced that she was fully committed to her femininity until the lace arrived…

Here in South Africa, it is a monumental task to find lace trims for sewing projects. In America you just walk into any fabric store and there will be a section in the shop devoted to lace and braid and sequins and ribbons of all descriptions. Not so in South Africa. Here, you have to go to a specialty shop called a “haberdashery”…assuming you can find one. Once you do manage to track one down, don’t expect to be spoiled for choice: the selections are invariably slim and prosaic. And heaven forefend if you are seeking ruffled or pre-gathered lace! It simply does not exist here! Being a person both resourceful and persistent, however, I have come up with a workaround solution: eBay!

I know what the meagre offerings of lace and eyelet trims go for here, so I use that as a baseline for my on-line shopping: trims that, including shipping, approximate the cost of a roughly similar item here, are within budget. So, if a piece of 1” wide lace would cost R25 a metre here, then a piece of lace on eBay costing $2.50 a yard, including shipping, is within my reach. Gathered laces can go for 50% more, since the gather ratio is usually 1.5:1. And so I have a fairly steady stream of small packages arriving from America as there are plenty of suppliers…some even ship free! feed my sewing machine.

A few weeks ago I received a packet of pretty pink lace…3 yards of it…and opened the packet on the bed where Puddin’ was taking a nap. I left the room for just a couple of minutes, returning to find her rolled up in it, yards of pretty pink lace wrapped around her like a cat! I took it away from her, but only under protest, and when I put the lace on the bedside table, she took to barking at it! Eventually it ended up trimming a dress and matching undies for her, and I thought nothing more of it…until today.

Yesterday I received a notice from the post office that my latest purchase had arrived and today Hubby and I stopped by to pick it up: 5 yards of gathered eyelet trim, destined to embellish a few more outfits for Miss Puddin’. Winter is coming and I need to get a few flannel pajamas and nightgowns ready. Don’t laugh…these dogs do not have an undercoat to trap air and keep them warm like most dogs do, which is why they do not shed. Also, because of their small size, regulating their body temperatures can be more difficult than for larger dogs, particularly since their energetic metabolism tends to keep them lean and without much fat to insulate them. As a result, they do need some extra measures taken to keep them warm enough in chilly weather. OK…they don’t actually need pretty dresses or nighties, but I can sew, so why not?

So we brought the eyelet home and I sat on the bed and opened the packet, then set it aside on the bedside table. A few minutes later we let Puddin’ up on the bed and, after her enthusiastic greetings were done, she climbed up on top of the pillows and began barking, her nose pointed at the table. After touching several things in an attempt to identify what she was barking at, my hand fell on the eyelet and her ears perked up. When I put the eyelet on the bed, she grabbed it and started unwinding it from the card! It was the pretty lace trim she was after.

She also likes jewellery. She will try to chew the aquamarine I wear on my right ring finger and last night, when we got home with seven pairs of new earrings…the insurance company finally sent us jewellery store vouchers to replace the stuff stolen in our Valentine’s Day robbery…she went for the little jewellery boxes just as soon as they were out of the bag! And speaking of bags…she ignores our briefcases…but if I leave my handbag on the floor, she will stick her head into it and root around.

So, when you add it all up…an attraction to make up, jewellery, designer handbags, hair brushing, pretty clothes plus a penchant for lace…seems like we’ve got ourselves a pretty girly little girl here. Now, if we could just convince her that chewing on other people’s fingers is just not ladylike!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Neighours and Neighbourliness

Nothing ruins a beautiful home and tranquil neighbourhood like having rude, inconsiderate, selfish, unpleasant people sharing your property line.

I have these neighbours who have two teenaged sons, neither of whom, apparently, understand the purpose of the two metre tall masonry walls that have been erected on the property line. If I simply wanted to mark the dividing line between the properties, a couple of stakes and a line of string between them would suffice, but the huge hint provided by a 12 inch thick, 6 foot high brick wall seems to have escaped these boys.

They don’t understand gates, either. Tall, iron-banded wood gates with massive security padlocks on them are, to these lads, merely climbing apparatuses…and climb them they do. Evidently the advantages of entering their own property through their front door…or ringing my bell to politely ask access to the property (which I would grant if the request had some legitimacy, like retrieving a ball that had gone over the wall) escape them and scaling my walls, being more expedient that respecting my privacy and property rights, is their preference.

I remember having parties when I was younger…in fact, I have parties now. But, there is a considerable difference between my parties and the 60 hour marathons these boys throw every weekend, starting mid-afternoon each Friday. I do not exaggerate in this…I woke up the other morning at 3:45 am to use the loo and we had left the window open that night. Through the open window came the unmistakeable throb of what passes today for music, not as a muted background to what should have been the soothing nocturnal cricket symphony, but thumping sound so loud that I could have picked out the lyrics, had they been intelligible.

It doesn’t stop there… We had guests over for Christmas dinner and the guest list included two 10-year-olds. Our back garden is huge and we have several small dogs that love kids, so we opened the patio gates and let them all out to play. Within a short time, one of the kids came limping back, the bottom of his foot cut by a piece of brown glass…a broken beer bottle. The location of the broken glass and its proximity to a certain part of our garden wall left no doubt from whence it came, especially since Thandiswe regularly finds beer bottles and other vice-related debris in that particular part of the garden.

We’ve given up on talking to their mother, she of the Cape Coloured accent so broad that I literally cannot understand her. Hubby’s ear is more attuned, however, and her basic response to our complaints is that they are teenagers and she is incapable of controlling them. Well. D’UH…I never would have guessed! Besides, both times we made a complaint about her rude children being on our property, we suffered a robbery within 30 days. The first time I was sure it was a coincidence…now I am not so sure.

I, who enjoys temperate weather, find myself eagerly looking forward to the chill of winter and their pool becoming too cold to be attractive. In fact, if luck is with me, the winter months will bring new…indoor…amusements to these young delinquents and by summer next year, the pool will have had its newness wear off and they will find other entertainments to capture their attention…preferably in some other part of town.