Catapalusa the Second

Jones thinks the sequel is not a patch on the original

Jones thinks the sequel isn’t a patch on the original

Hi Frog Lovers. Back in May I had a one-blog-cats-on-the-internet-mega-festival and it was so successful* I thought I’d hold another one. So I started to write (I use that term very loosely) Catapalusa the Second – now with extra Prairie Dog.

Then Jane from The King’s Tribune published this blog post about how her little Italian Greyhound, Milton, almost died last night. I watched the drama unfold on Twitter and I’ve never wanted to own a 25kg dog so much in all my life (Milton needed a blood transfusion from a dog at least that big).

Milton pulled through, thanks to Jane’s dedication and another amazing example of the great good that can come from social media. However, Jane is now facing some hefty vet bills and more to come.

So, now I hope that all you animal lovers out there will donate to Jane’s fund to help pay for Milton’s vet bills.

If you can, please help.

Here is Catapalusa the Second to help you get in the mood.

No this isn’t Milton but it IS an Italian Greyhound smooching a cat. I’m sure Milton would if he had access to an obliging feline.

Cat perch. I want one. My neck muscles could do with a workout.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExZ0i04pSeY

Cats are so demanding (part 2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIjauUB1r5M

Damnit. Now I want a baby prairie dog.

So. Take pity on a sick frog and send me your tired, your weary, but most of all your favourite animal videos. And help Milton too. Please.

* It was not at all successful but I liked the videos so whatever.

 

Be glad you’re not a male mantis

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Puppy-dog eyes and alien-everything-else
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Hi Frog-Lovers – I hope you enjoyed/survived Easter, school holidays and other assorted horrors. We’re on the mend over here at the Lily Pad, after a neat circular exchange of bugs of various kinds (not the insect kind although perhaps a plague of locusts would be in-theme).

Now that I’ve said that, of course, we’ll be reporting the Black Death over here and bringing out our dead. Anyone got a wheelbarrow?

Awesome way to tempt the universe, Frog.

You may by now suspect that this post is another of those “this is a post that’s not a post” posts, and you’re probably not wrong.

In that spirit, I want to share another “The Truth About” video. This one features one of my favourite insects – the mantis. You may remember that I took one to McDonalds a while back. That one didn’t have a laser beam and as far as I know, it didn’t like live tennis porn.

I think the message from this video is “be glad you’re not a male mantis”. Trust me.

What’s your favourite insect?

I’m linking up with Laugh Link again this week. Go on. Click on it. I dare you!

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My subconscious has gone AWOL

Brain

An arsehole. Image

Brain:    Good morning!

Me:        Ugh.

Brain:    What?

Me:        Why did you have to give me those dreams last night?

Brain:    Which ones? The one about the wedding, or the one about the unicorn?

Me:        You gave me dreams about weddings and unicorns?!

Brain:    Errrrm… No?

Me:        *side eye*

Brain:    That’s physically impossible.

Me:        I know; that’s why I’m telling you I’m doing it. Because I can’t actually look at you.

Brain:    Right.

Me:        You gave me this stupid dream where I was trying to convince a man to get back in contact with his young daughter. Every time I almost got them back together, something happened to ruin it.

Brain:    Yup.

Me:        So what was your point?

Brain:    I don’t understand dreams, I just give them to you.

Me:        Isn’t a dream supposed to be my subconscious trying to tell me things?

Brain:    Sure. But the subconscious isn’t here right now to answer your questions.

Me:        Where is it?

Brain:    I don’t know. I’m not your subconscious’ keeper, you know.

Me:        …

Brain:    …

Me:        Actually you quite literally are.

Brain:    …

Me:        Can you please take a message then?

Brain:    Sure, why not!?

Me:        Gee thanks.

Brain:    You’re welcome!

Me:        So there I was dreaming a confusing dream about a dude and his daughter, when you gave me a nightmare.

Brain:    I would never do that!

Me:        Liar. You did give me a nightmare. You made me dream about SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES. You bastard.

Brain:    That doesn’t sound like me. That was definitely your subconscious.

Me:        You made me dream about shopping for clothes AND IT WAS HORRIBLE.

Brain:    I wondered why you woke up sweating.

Me:        Why do you hate me?

Brain:    I don’t hate you. Maybe your subconscious hates you.

Me:        Well then please pass that message on to my subconscious when it comes back from wherever the hell it’s gone.

Brain:    You’re asking me to tell your subconscious that you hate it? That doesn’t sound healthy to me.

Me:        You started it.

Brain:    Your subconscious started it.

Me:        Bastard.

Brain:    That’s not very nice.

Me:        Arsehole.

Brain:    You seem to be a bit confused about anatomy.

Me:        Ugh.

Does your brain hate you too?

I’m linking up with Laugh Link again this week. Click on the button below to read some hilarious bits of bloggery. I dare you.

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The Frog goes alcohol-free for 28 days

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Dog help me, it’s true, I’m signed up for FebFast. I must have lost my mind.

This is a 28 day sponsored challenge raising money to support youth, advocacy services and family drug support.

It’s also likely to be an exercise in torture because if you follow me on Twitter you know I love a nice vat drop of wine and the constant occasional cocktail.

So please spread the word, share the link to this post and donate on my sponsorship page:

Torture the Frog Here

Every dollar you donate will keep me on the straight and narrow and remind me that this is worth it.

Hold me. I’m going in*.

Cheers Thanks,

The Frog

* On 1 February. Right now I’m off to have a drink.

Tired

Tired head image

Appearance of actual frog may vary

Those of you who have been reading me for a long time know that from time-to-time I have relapses of anxiety and/or depression. This has been going on all my adult life so it’s really not a big deal. I manage myself as best I can, take a low dose of meds constantly, and look out for triggers and warning signs. Signs that I’m heading down that slippery slope again.

Last year was a huge work year for me and at the end of last year I was very, very tired. I was so tired that each night before a work commitment, I prayed that it would be cancelled.

I still had so many urgent things on my to-do list by the day before Christmas, that I wanted to cry. Most of those are still there – in fact the list is growing daily.

The sense of despair I felt just before Christmas was my first warning. Overwhelming, bone-crushing fatigue was another.

My finger nails have started to split and peel in layers. My mouth is filled with ulcers.

The idea of having to start work again in January made me teary and filled me with anger and resentment.

My system was trying to tell me something.

It was something absurdly mundane that finally made me pay attention. It’s three-quarters through January, and my Christmas tree is still up. I’m not someone who rushes to get the tree down the moment January 6 arrives, but having it still up at this point is unusual, even for me. I keep looking at it, registering that it needs to come down. Anxiety and exhaustion grip my chest and so I walk past it. Tomorrow. Or the next day. I’ve stopped turning the tree lights on. Isn’t that enough?

I had a much-needed holiday in early January, so I know how ungrateful I sound. That holiday was not enough. Having another break is not an option (did I mention my to-do-list?)

Here I am, at the start of the year, already struggling; already barely dragging myself from week to week. Fatigue is the biggest trigger for anxiety for me and I’m well-and-truly heading for a crash.

What to do?

Right now I’m doing as little work as possible, given my workload, and spacing it out. I’m trying to get more sleep. I’m setting myself one small thing to do each day. I’m taking iron and Vitamin C.

There’s another part of me, though, that is screaming. Not only is it looking at my to-do list and having an aneurysm, it’s telling me countless other things as well. It’s telling me I have to stop doing superannuation work, because that’s not why I set up my own company. It’s telling me I have to write my own training material and market that. It’s telling me to get that stand-up routine organised. It’s telling me I have three books to write, a blog to run, a comedy blog link-up to organise. A speaking career to investigate. It’s telling me I don’t spend enough time with my son. It’s telling me I’ve neglected my creative side. It’s telling me it’s time for a new career (again).

My brain is yelling at me to take action while my body is telling me to slow down.

I suspect I’ve seen the signs that I was on that slippery slope a bit too late, and I’ve already got my toes in that craptacular depression/anxiety pool. Time will tell.

I’m off now to try – again – to take down the Christmas tree. It won’t matter if it’s still up in February, right?

How have you started 2014?

 

Suddenly, there are deer in my bra

Oh deer

Oh deer

Hi Frog-Lovers. In case this is your first visit to the Lily Pad, between now and Christmas I’m hosting some wonderful and funny writers while I get some amphibious rest. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do. Who knew so many of you were so hilarious!?

Today’s guest is my memoir mentor and writerly friend, the inimitable Helen Patrice. Here she shares a story of exotic locations, wild animals, and underwear.

So, FiveFrogs starts asking around her writing bloggy cronies for those of us who are known as Humour Writers. I’m apparently one of them. I gaily say that, sure, I can submit a blog post for promotion on her ‘Check out this funny writer person’ blog thing. I’m a funny person. I make people laugh. (Let’s not go into my dismal capital F fail in Hawaii to do stand-up. The non-appreciation from the back of the van could be heard for miles, echoing off Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa as we travelled the Saddle Road between them. Both Poliahu and Pele thought I sucked.)

I spend the afternoon lying in the sunshine, reading ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind. Not exactly a rip-roaring laughter book. More a grim but witty novel set amongst the scents and odours of France. Pee-hew! I’m up to page 90 and there’s already been one scent-related murder, with more to come, I can tell.

My laptop has lazed at my side. Twice during the afternoon, PizzaBoy has hunkered down behind it, and in a mousy voice, said: “Use me for blogging”.

To which my response has been: “Fuck off, Canada! Don’t pressure me! I’m a delicate writer.”

I lay there, and wondered what to be funny about. I could riff on my trip to Japan and China. I could, but…. Ho hum, I am such the weary traveller that it’s all very ho-hum, and what can I say that someone like Bill Bryson hasn’t said better. Not that he’s ever had the problem of too many deer in his bra at Nara.

I suppose I should explain. The shrine at Nara has a park with many charming deer roaming about. The deer mob visitors to the shrine. Many of the pathside vendors sell deer biscuits. No, not biscuits made of deer. Wafery type biscuits that are good for the deer to eat.

I wanted a not-your-usual tourist pic. Never mind me feeding the deer. I wanted the deer to mob me and eat off my body.

I lay down on a path where deer were seated nearby in the shade. I covered my clothed(must emphasise this, CLOTHED) body with pieces of deer bickie. Nothing. The deer looked away. Fool woman lying on the cold ground, desecrating the Nara shrine with her foul white ways.

Two Asian tourists took my photo and sniggered. Walked away.

I had to gather up my deer biscuits as best I could, which wasn’t very, because they fall to bits as soon as touched, and skulk away. Meanwhile, the Asian tourists are being flocked upon by deer, and they don’t even have any biscuits.

Bollocks.

A bit later, I try again. I sit down on a bench. I coax deer over with biscuits in hand. Then biscuits in lap. Then I lie down and put biscuits upon my person. The deer back away. Fine then, no prone deer mobbing. I sit up, and inspired, shove biscuits into my cleavage. Crumbs make a break for it, due south. They bypass my bra and somehow my singlet and top and end up in the knees of my leggings, where they itch like mo-fo’s. (I am up with hipster language like mo-fo, LOL, and er…other things)

Deer approach. One reaches into my cleavage, turns its head a bit sideways, and delicately selects a wafer of biscuit, leaving behind wet, sticky deer drool and a warm nose-imprint. Suddenly, there are deer in my bra. Many of them, and they all want the same biscuit. Easy guys, easy! There’s enough cleavage for all! Truly. I’m a 14DD, wearing a totally unsupportive Aah-Bra.
I get my photos. The Asian tourists get photos. Possibly the deer do, too.

I am content. I have my photo. Enough now, deer. But the deer are relentless. They can smell the crumbs festooning me. One tries to get up under my skirt to get at the crumbs around my knees. I am the Tippi Hedren of deer.

“Nature! It’s all over me! Get it off!” I say to PizzaBoy, quoting ‘Madagascar’.

I stand up. The deer butt me gently under the boobs. I have to retire to a toilet cubicle to de-smear, de-deer, and de-crumb myself. I never do get those leggings completely biscuit-free. They get washed twice more during the trip. I am sure I can still feel crumbs in them.

I sit back and look at this blog entry. Is it funny? I can’t tell. I feel morose. There is nothing amusing any more. Nothing. The pup loathes me – he is sleeping with his back to me. Looking at that sunshine. Nothing funny about that. I think about yoga this morning. I know we laughed at something. It’s gone now.

I think this is the blight of every comedian – the strain of finding the funny means that often, nothing seems to be when examined closely.

Then I start fretting that this is part of me coming off my full dosage of anti-depressant and seeing how I fare at 10mg. Am I tipping headlong into The Bad Place? It doesn’t feel like it.

Oh, I drive myself mad with this kind of thinking. If only I could think it was funny.

Tell me, readers. How many deer are too many to have in your bra?

Helen smaller

Helen Patrice is a Melbourne poet, memoirist, and blogger. She lives with her husband, son, and a small crowd of animals. You can find her blog here, her Facebook page here, and her book of Poetry, “A Woman of Mars” from here or from the author herself.

 

Accidental behavioral diarrhea and embracing your inner arsehole

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Nina and Daisy J Dog.
Image courtesy of Nina Bargiel

I believe that we should all stand up and not only call out other people’s arseholery, but also stand up and accept that we ourselves can be arseholes too.

I really recommend that you embrace your inner arsehole, so you can monitor it and take some responsibility when it rears its ugly head. Otherwise it’s likely that it’ll leap up and catch you by surprise. I spent most of my life being nice and denying my inner arsehole and as a result, it became uncontrollable and broke free at unexpected and seriously inconvenient times. These arsehole explosions (accidental behavioral diarrhea, as it were) led me to say and do things that to this day I regret.

These days I accept that I’m a bit of an arsehole and I feel under much less pressure. There are some areas of life, though, from which you have to keep your inner arsehole well away.

A while back I wrote a thing here about chickens and not being an arsehole with your jokes.

Today I read something that did a much better job of expressing my point.

Nina Bargiel, AKA the Slackmistress, is a TV writer, passionate runner, dog mummy and all-round clever and hilarious chick. I love her writing and her jokes (yes even the shitty ones*). Nina wrote this thing and you should all read it:

The best thing you and your inner arsehole will read today. Trust me. Unless you’re a murderer, in which case you probably shouldn’t but if you’re a murderer the last thing you’re likely to do is listen to the likes of me. Sorry Nina, I may have just encouraged a lot of murderers to read your thing. Oops.

Now go follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Tell her The Frog sent you. You won’t regret it.

* Nina never makes shitty jokes but if she did I’d love them. Because I’m an arsehole.

Conversations with my brain – ain’t nobody got time for that

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My brain is a mental arsehole, and I ain’t got time for that.

Brain:      SHIT!
Me:         What?!
Brain:      I can’t remember whether I left the oven on.
Me:         I’m sure I turned it off.
Brain:      How can you be sure?!
Me:         I always turn it off.
Brain:      BUT WHAT IF YOU DIDN’T? THIS COULD HAPPEN:

Me:         Wow she’s great. I wish I was her. As I was saying, I’m sure I did turn it off… I think.

Me:         Shit.
Brain:      See? You’re not sure. YOU LEFT THE OVEN ON AND NOW THE HOUSE WILL BURN DOWN AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Or maybe get bronchitis.
Me:         It’s 2am and I don’t want to get out of bed.
Brain:      What part of ALL GOING TO DIE don’t you understand?
Me:         Damnit. It’s cold. And it’s dark.
Brain:      ALL. GOING. TO. DIE.
Me:         I won’t be able to go back to sleep.
Brain:      ALL… GOING…
Me:         OK, OK, I’m getting up. Fascist.

Me:         I was right. It’s 2am, cold and dark and I didn’t leave the oven on.
Brain:      Really?
Me:         Yes.
Brain:      Are you sure?
Me:         Yes. I think so. I just checked.
Brain:      Were you paying attention when you did it, or were you thinking about how cold and dark it was instead?
Me:         I’m pretty sure I checked it.
Brain:      ALL… GOING… TO…
Me:         I hate you.
Brain:      …DIE.

I wish I was more like Sweet Brown. Her brain wouldn’t dare be an arsehole.

Is your brain an arsehole?

Mental nausea and a mixed metaphor about swans and snorkels

Actual author appearance may vary
© Murat Erhan Okcu | Dreamstime.com

Speaking to groups of people must seem a pretty self-flaggelatory* way to earn a crust, for someone who battles anxiety and other types of mental nausea**.

I really love it. I just flick a switch in my brain and become a facilitator. I recognise how fortunate I am to be able to flick a mental switch in order to function on a professional level.

I remember an old boss being totally surprised – shocked – when I told him I’d been diagnosed with depression.

“But you’re always so smiling and happy!”

I wanted to yell at him that I was just pretending. I HAD to pretend, or I’d just not function at all.

When things get bad, I operate on the swan theory***.

I’m a swan a lot in the evenings. Evening is when most people are active on social media. I love Twitter for the conversations I have, the interesting stuff I watch and read.

It’s hard, though, to be social on demand. My Seasonal Affective Disroder (SAD) brings anxiety and fibromyaglia flares to accompany the dying of the light every frigging night in winter.

There I am being social, LOLing and retweeting and generally being frivolous and silly while on the inside, I’m slowly losing my mind.

I start to feel that horrible, pervasive scratching of anxiety under my skin, a gradually tightening fist inside my chest. Time to get my swan on (no, not in a bizarre and frankly ill-advised Bjork dead-swan-tutu way WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!).

Last night was particularly bad. As evening arrived and my serotonin levels dipped I was tweeting how bad I felt, while LOLing and replying cheerily to other tweets. It occurred to me today how weird that would seem.

It’s not that I’m not real while I’m relating normally on the outside and being screamingly mental on the inside. That IS the real me. The me that isn’t screamingly mental, I mean. The me that’s the swan, gliding on top of the water, gently mental, rather than the utterly batshit self-destructively crazy part of me that’s paddling like mad (literally) under the water.

I think I need to be that swan. The screamingly mental me really needs the gently mental me to keep up those normal interactions, like a weird mental snorkel, keeping just above the crashing waves of mental vomit****. Now and then a few waves splosh over and I choke and cough but the snorkel always clears again with some sleep and a few cuddles.

So next time you see someone being witty and frivolous, while saying they’re depressed or anxious, don’t say “Wow you always seem so HAPPY! I had NO IDEA you were mental”.

Just know that they’re trying their best to be a swan.

Oh and for fuck’s sake, don’t put your finger over the end of their snorkel or someone might DIE.

OK?

OK.

My lovely friend Dayle Walker from Simply Aware sent me this link, to Tina Turner singing a peace mantra. I recommend it for any of you aspiring swans out there. My domain manager broke my blog so I’ve listened to it eight times already today. So far.

Keep paddling like fuck.

* I don’t care if that’s not a word, it should be.
** Thank you Ben Pobjie for coining that phrase. Perfection.
*** The swan theory is about gliding along the top of the water perfectly calm, while under the water you’re paddling like fuck. I would like to state that this is absolutely the only way in which I resemble a swan.
**** Now try to un-imagine that, now you’ve read it. You’re welcome.

Do you have anxiety?
Are you able to be a swan?