Book Review – Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus
Steven Rowley

Yes, a novel about a dog always results in the dog dying. That’s the Murphy’s Law of novels about dogs. In this case, Lily the dachshund is dying from the octopus on her head. So named because her owner Ted can’t bring himself to say the word tumour. But Lily is 12, has never been in great health, and the sad fact of life is that we usually outlive our pets.

Ted is having none of this however and part of his brain is convinced that if he just ignores the tumour, all will be well. Except of course, it isn’t and Ted eventually has to confront many things about his life, especially the fact that his dog has replaced most human interaction in his life (on Thursday Ted and Lily talk about cute boys, on Fridays they play Monopoly), and that as a single, freelance writer, still recovering from the end of a serious relationship, he doesn’t get out much.

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Pat a Dog – Self Care Month Day 3

Selfie with Wiggly Corgi

Or a cat, or a bird. I advise against chasing down animals in the wild, but having animals in our lives has huge health benefits, from increasing our circle of friends and acquaintances to lowering stress.

Having a dog will get you up and moving, for both walks and play; will likely make you more organized (they’re sticklers for a schedule); will give you plenty of opportunities for a hearty belly laugh; and are always on hand to offer an ear or a snuggle when you’re feeling down.

If having a pet isn’t practical for you right now, you can visit friends with pets, volunteer at an animal shelter (bunny snugglers wanted!), look at pictures of animals online, or even get a stuffed animal to fill some of the gaps. (Seriously, before we got our current dog, I was going through a depressive period and bought a toy sloth named Cyril. Cyril lived on the back of the sofa, and sat on my lap while I watched TV. He was quite the critic, and would wave his long arms at my husband when he disliked a show and wanted it turned off. He was also an expert at the UK museum-themed quiz show, Quizeum. Claims he never got an answer wrong, beating some of the best historians in the world.)

Whatever way you choose to interact with animals, they can help you feel better in both the short and long term.

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I’m An Adult Now – Steam Cleaners

dog_carpet

One of the important parts of adulting is knowing the how, when and why of keeping things clean. When I recently posted to Facebook about steam cleaning my sofa I got an incredulous reply from a friend exclaiming that they didn’t even know you could do such a thing, and please would I explain how.

So let’s start with the fact that all fabric things around your house get dirty. Or at least dusty. Here at House O’ Fits, things such as curtains, throw cushion covers, table runners and bed spreads get laundered on a quarterly basis. I use the change of season (solstices and equinoxes) as my calendar guide. Linens that are more delicate or harder to dry, especially if they don’t come in direct contact with skin/hair or pets (things such as pillows, feather duvets and feather or wool mattress pads) generally get washed annually. (Yes, I said washed… I totally wash my feather linens and put them in a dryer – they turn out fine.)

But what about carpets, rugs or fabric-covered furniture?

Dudes, these should also be cleaned. Not constantly, but at least somewhat regularly.

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Into Every Life, a Little Change Must Come

When we first moved into this apartment, we weren’t sure how long we’d stay. I was not keen on the idea of apartment living, and we were still considering buying a house – this was to be a test to see if we could live in a condo without going insane. So we bought a cheap sofa, figuring we’d get another one if/when we moved again. It wasn’t ever very comfortable; I migrated to a chair rather quickly when I discovered that the angle of the seat on the sofa made my leg go numb.The cat shredded the arms, and a certain little brown dog pretty much claimed the thing as her own.

Four years later, we’re still here, after realizing that we could live in an apartment but that most condos won’t allow our large dogs. Four years later, and we really needed a new sofa.

We splurged on what we’ve called “our first grown-up sofa” – a stylish green loveseat that looks like it should be on the set of Mad Men. Other than the fact that the seat is a little deep for me and I need an ottoman (when we checked it out I was wearing boots that make me 2 inches taller; my feet touched the floor fine in the store, not so much at home), we like it very much.

Tula, however, while she likes it fine now, was not especially pleased with the transition.

Bringing new meaning to “curling up in a chair”. Still not impressed.

Dog and blanket installed on new sofa. “I guess this will do.”

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