Free love, doggy style.

Eeew wanton debauchery!  Run awaaaayyyyyy!

Don’t worry, this isn’t some raunchy tell-all.  In some ways that title is completely misleading, but in other ways it’s totally appropriate.  Oooh, the tantalising difference between speaking literally and figuratively!

A couple of months ago I read an article about how much people love, and feel loved by their pets. In it, they made reference to some statistics released by the Australian Companion Animal Council.  The council reports that 91% of owners feel “very close” to their pets. In fact, 56% of women and 41% of men said that their pet is more affectionate than their partner.

I was shocked to realise that, while the statistic saddened me, it didn’t actually surprise me.  

As humans, we do tend to harbour a number of prerequisites, subconscious or otherwise, that must be filled before we give our love away.

  • What do you look like?
  • What do you do?
  • How old are you?
  • How do you smell?
  • Will being seen with you make me more or less “cool by association”?

A six month old baby with big blue eyes, a musical laugh, and a clean nappy? 
Hand him over lady, and I’ll cover that kid with kisses.

The middle aged woman with greasy hair, 12 teeth in total and a rasping cough?  
Avert thine eyes children, and dash off to buy sushi.

Many of you have probably guessed that I have a border collie puppy. 
Her name is Indie, and she brings much joy into our lives.

Technically, I’m still on my mat. Technically.


When we walk down the street, Indie happily engages with anyone and everyone, only limited by the length of the leash (!)
The little old lady with her wheelie walker;  the teenage skinheads smoking at the train station;  the professionals at lunch, sipping lattes with their laptops … they all get the same affectionate acknowledgement.

Dogs don’t care if your sunnies are Armani, your car is a rust box,  or you’ve gained 15 kilos. Dogs don’t care if you’re intellectually disabled,  you just got promoted, or your legs need a shave.  They only care that you’re there, with them, and have time for a pat.  
No judgement.

When I was a little girl I thought that when I was very good, I made God proud, and he loved me more;  but when I was naughty, then he got disappointed, and I had to earn back his love by impressing him somehow.  One time at church the minister told us that God loved us, and there was nothing that we could do to make him love us any more, and nothing we could do to make him love us any less. God loves us, just for being us,  with an unchanging love.  I remember being really surprised by this – surely we can influence how much other people love us by the things we do? I certainly felt less love for my parents straight after being smacked.  For many years these thoughts rattled around in my brain, not quite fitting with my experience of the world. And then I got a puppy, who made me think…

 Maybe Indie understands more about God’s love than I do?  Indie gives love freely, and without thought of return. She doesn’t love people because she thinks she should,  it’s completely genuine. Indie’s love for us is unchanging,  regardless of whether we just took her for a long walk, or forgot her breakfast that morning.

Is my dog a better Christian than I am?

Haha, woof.


“Excuse me while I kiss this guy”

Words are so good. I love words.  
I especially love learning new and somewhat obscure words, and then imagining how I would integrate them into everyday life, without sounding like an uppity twat.

This is me being the face of intelligence in a psychology textbook one time.      Uppity twat much?


About a year ago, I stumbled across a buzzfeed entitled 
                                                25 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names

What a gold mine! I was delighted, and wrote down these top five words to learn:

# 5 Crepuscular Rays: those shining-through-the-clouds sunbeams that look like God is about to drop round.

#4 Gynecomastia: heehee, manboobs!

#3 Semantic Satiation: saying a word over and over till it loses its meaning.

#2 Phosphenes: the little lights you see when you scrunch your eyes up tight.


 And coming in at first place is ……*drumroll*……. Mondegreen!

What the heck is a Mondegreen?  Don’t google it yet, I’ll tell you.

Mondegreen is the official term for a misheard and misinterpreted lyric, that gives the song a brand new meaning. The mix-up is usually caused by how similar the two phrases sound –  how “homophonous” they are, in uppity twat language.  Children are particularly gifted at coming up with Mondegreens. I remember in the mid 90’s, my youngest sister Nooma belting out Peter Frampton in the car.

“Ooooh baby I looove your wings” she sang.
“That’s not right, it’s “oooh baby I love your ways.” I corrected her, in classic bossy-big-sister fashion.
“No it’s wings,” she insisted, “he’s singing to an angel and he loves her beautiful wings”.

I gave up.

Not that I was mondegreen free, mind you…  I have very vivid memories of giggling my head off with my best friend Josh, as we jumped on his bed to Michael Jackson. 

“I’ve never been so in love before, I want you baby right down in my applecore!”

Probably the most famous mondegreen is the line “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” from Purple Haze by Jimmy Hendrix.  Indeed, the mondegreen became so well known that Jimmy often used to sing the misheard lyrics in his live performances. 
One fan remembers seeing Hendrix perform at the Ambassador Theatre, Washington D.C. in 1967.  When the line came, Jimmy lifted his hand, pointed to bass player Noel Redding and grinned as he sang

                  “Excuse me while I kiss this guy”

(story from Zaner, 2011)

Other fans of the intentional mondegreen were good old Credence Clearwater Revival, who helped their listeners find the amenities by singing the misheard version of their 1969 hit  

“Don’t go around tonight,  well it’s bound to take your life. There’s a bathroom on the right”

(Bagge et al, 2000)

So, have you too been “blinded by the light, wrapped up like a moose driving a Rover in the night” ? Or do you know your Manfred Mann better than that?

Can you correct any, or all, of the following mondegreens?

“The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind. The ants are blowing in the wind”
– not Bob Dylan

 “You got blood on your face, you big disgrace, waving your bladder all over the place” 
– not Queen

 “Hold me closer Tony Danza, count the headlights on the highway”
– not Elton John

” With the lights out it’s less dangerous, Here we are now, in containers”
– not Nirvana

 “Might as well face it, you’re a d*ck with a glove”  
– not Robert Palmer

“Cows want milk, 6 minutes later, cows want milk”
– not Duran Duran

“Charlie L. Smith’s forty, someone spiked my rice, the rest history”
– no wait, that actually is Ben Folds

 “Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes, put it in your panties with your cupcakes”
– not Simon and Garfunkle

  “The sheep don’t like it.  Rock the Cat Spa, rock the Cat Spa”
– not The Clash

 “We caught some kids on microwave ovens, custard kitchen and liver hey”
– not Dire Straits

 “Without you… It’s not as much fun to pick up the pizzas”
– not Nine Inch Nails

Well, I’m going to go now. I’m pretty hungry, and it’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll.



for pleasure’s sake

Ah procrastination, the guilty pleasure of the masses.

When considered seriously, most would lament it as “the thief of time” (Charles Dickens, David Copperfield) and reflectively agree with Abraham Lincoln, that 

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

We’ve all been there – the proverbial crossroads of responsible time management. 
The solid acknowledgement of a task required, that sits in your stomach like a raw potato… and the exhilaration – both painful and joyous, of turning away and doing something, anything, else. How much better that other something is, purely because of how naughty you are for doing it, instead of that other-thing-that-is-hanging-over-your-head. Cleaning your room is never so satisfying or pleasurable as when you have a 2000 word essay on Health Promotion due in 48 hours…. 

My family are particularly adept at procrastinating.  It is a skill that was faithfully modelled to us by our parents, particularly our mum. No one can put off marking year 12 English practice exams like that woman. She truly is a marvel, and like the literary master Mark Twain, holds unswervingly to the adage

 “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

When packing a houseful of belongings into boxes, there are a plethora of distractions laying in wait to…. well, distract you. Dresses that must be to be tried on before one can verify their opp-shop status.  Birthday cards that have been up since March, and probably should be thrown out, but each one needs to be read in case the message is special and you want to keep it forever. A thousand sentimental nick-nacks, brimming with nostalgia, that beg you to ponder how each one came to be yours… before you box it.  

And then there’s the newspapers!
How the heck are you supposed to wrap your valuables efficiently when everything printed on the wrapping paper is so damn INTERESTING? 


For example: I tried wrapping some ornaments with pages of Sunday Life.  The following was one of the articles featured on the cover.

“Urgh!”  thought I,  “More vacuous bullshit proclaiming the glories of Living Large.  I already have enough First World Problems without some stupid rag making me feel inadequate for not splurging enough, thankyou very much.”
Those pages would surely be easy to tear out and wrap up without reading, right?

Of course not.
Curiosity got the better of me. And it turned out to be a very thought provoking read.

Hedonism is defined by Oxford Dictionary as 
                                                             “the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.”

In my mind, “hedonism” has always carried connotations of darkness and debauchery.  The kind of cruel filth sought after by the Libertines like Marquis du Sard: a breed of pleasure so twisted and self-serving that it runs right through the spectrum of what is good, and comes out the other side as obsessive delight in the suffering of others. 


However, the article took quite a different approach, asking “Can the need to indulge, to pursue pleasure, be, from time to time, healthy – and indeed necessary?”

Now before you get all morally outraged (!) the pleasures mentioned in the article were far from Sunday arvo sadism.  Rather, the individuals interviewed listed “hedonistic” pleasures such as long lunches with friends, festivals, dancing all night, sleep-ins and sunshine. Indeed one 44-year-old Sydney banker even “defines himself as an ethical hedonist and reckons hedonism can be healthy.”

Interesting, no?

Banker man continues “This weekend, I plan to read a book from cover to cover.  For me that sounds just like heaven and it’s got nothing to do with spending heaps of money”.  Another hedonist states his “ultimate indulgence” is his ocean swim each morning. Yet another finds joyful release in live music, which “provides the necessary exuberant counterbalance to our repetitive working lives. It gives us the burst of energy we need to go on. Without it, we are robots.”

(NB. Please note that all quoted text is taken from Brigid Delaney’s article “Days of Decadence”, published July 2012, Sunday Life/The Age)

Now, I don’t know if I’d classify myself as a neo-hedonist, but I do see a lot of value in appreciating with gratefulness the many pleasures that this life has to offer us.  
Of course life isn’t always tea and crumpets, but I believe this earth was created for us to enjoy, and it’s in delighting in the good things that we value its Creator.

So, what pleasures bring exuberance to your life?

The article suggests (“how to be a hedonist”): skinny dipping, chucking a sickie, and going device-free (phone and internet) for a weekend.

I concur.  I’d also like to add: fried haloumi, beach camping, and being read to sleep by someone who loves you.

And of course, procrastination!