A safe haven and my cats

My office is now the one place I feel really safe all of the time and is where I absolutely positively love to hang out. Who would ever have thought that could or would ever have been the case, particularly as the last few years it was where I worked?! It has become a safe haven that has allowed me to remain productive. So many books are online today, I don’t even have to go to the university or public libraries to read or do research. Having user names and passwords, though, is rather a drag as I have so much trouble these days remembering them. I know it is recommended we use a different one for every login for security reasons, and we should change them often, but that advice is just so user-unfriendly!! Last week someone said to me they thought my computer had become my world, and this gave me something to ponder on. My laptop is my office, but the safety of the actual space is very comforting. The view from my office window is peaceful, as it looks straight out onto the garden, with our swimming pool just in sight on the left. When the cats want to be lazy and let in through the side door, rather than walking around to the cat door set into the laundry door, all they have to do is meow at my office window!

Coming out of this safe haven is my blog, and yesterday I received a request from the State Library of South Australia saying they are “interested in archiving my blog to the National Library’s Pandora Collection web archive.” I do feel rather excited about this. My memory blog is growing legs, and it seems is gaining interest beyond any scope I had ever dreamed possible. My personal story is also part of a live website called the 100 Leaders Project, which is also thrilling. This project has also been supported by our first ever disAbled politician Kelly Vincent, a remarkable young woman breaking ground in politics and many areas of disAbility. Much of my story on that website has been told before, but there is always a different audience it seems, and in this article I did write about how I managed to study at a tertiary level whilst living with disAbilities and chronic illness.

Anyway, away from the topic of my office for a few moments now, and onto my adorable cats. One son was shocked to find out I did not include even one poem about either of our Russian Blue cats in my first volume of poetry, so I thought I’d at least talk about them here. They are slightly spoilt, and one comment made in my 50th birthday book by my oldest son said, sometimes I wish I was a cat! Our youngest cat Boris used up all his nine lives when he was three, when he was hit by a truck. It took many weeks of intense nursing, and a number of surgical procedures to keep him alive. Oh, and quite a lot of the children’s inheritance! He slept in his cage for six weeks on our bedroom floor, with my husband by his side on a mattress, the ultimate sign of devotion and love. They were very close before the accident, but Boris almost sticks to him like glue when he gets home from work! Needless to say, he does not roam very far, and never onto the road any more. He is the ultimate sook, and lap cat, and will sit on any lap that will stay still for long enough! The older cat Star is a little chubby compared to Boris, a bit of a Fatty Poombah really, and not such a pushover when it comes to laps. She is perhaps more spoilt than Boris, and a little over attached to her human mother! Once when we were away, she had to be called inside each night via me yelling her name into my phone, and the house phone being held at the back door. It worked, but it is a bit of a weird technique. Holding off on her dinner until 7pm would probably have been more effective, but who could possibly be that cruel?? I have always loved animals, and especially cats, horses, chickens and pigs! As they say, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

My life does expand beyond my office, my husband and children and our two beautiful cats, and the journey is one that continues to astound and amaze me. This expansion of my life usually includes food and friends, and over on my Conversations & Recipes page today is a new recipe, and a very yummy one too, my version of Laksa. It is my 7th recipe so far, although yesterdays did include a second very simple vegetable recipe to go with the steak and mushroom sauce. I’d love you to try some, and for you to give me feedback. Recipe requests are also an option in this online kitchen so feel free to add yours! There are a lot of recipes from my chefing days sitting in a file on my laptop called Cookbook, many that will not make it to my blog, but I will be able to add the recipes here to the book, and eventually, finally it will be done, and my beautiful nagging children and friends will have their recipe book!

12 thoughts on “A safe haven and my cats

  1. Wow about Pandora. I am really interested to know about the parameters for your inclusion – how does the Library select from so many offerings out there? Do they have categories, for example? Also, did they find you, or did you find them?
    Pandora seems such a huge project and, like collecting art (for example), it must be a gargantuan task for libraries to decide what to archive and what to leave.
    Thanks in anticipation for your insights!

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    • Hi Sal, Yes I thought WOW too! I have no idea how, but they found me and sent me a message via my blog contact form. I’ve yet to formally speak with them , but after doing a search about Pandora, thought it was pretty cool to have been contacted. As you say a gargantuan task for libraries, but however they found me, I’m definitely ok about it!! I hope your drawings and painting is going well for you too?

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      • Oh yes I’m still plodding along fine thanks.
        I was wondering whether you could blog about your dementia journey specifically (I only dare to ask this because it seems you are happy to be quite public about this). I read from your piece in “100 leaders” that you were diagnosed in 2008 – quite a while ago now. Many of us experience lapses of memory and weird behaviours at times (vis a vis drinking from a bottle having poured into a glass) but apparently do not suffer from the same malady as you (I have been doing this stuff since childhood). What was the trigger for you to think something was wrong? How was a definitive diagnosis made? You clearly remain highly articulate (thank God) which has not been the case for the many relatives and friends I have accompanied in this similar journey, some of whom have now succumbed to the complications of dementia. You must be grateful for this. But I am sure it would help your readers who have occasional memory lapses to know what constituted a serious symptom/sign/definitive test in your case. From my reading on Pick’s disease it appears loss of language comes early. You have indeed been lucky, and I do hope you will share some of this knowledge and insight with us. Of course, I realise this is very personal stuff, and you can “unapprove” my comment if it is too raw.
        By the way, the bit about Trixy and the clothesline made me laugh! I thought I was the only one she doffed in that way! I feel better now I know it was a regular thing. xx

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      • Hi Sal, I understand your questioning, and will attempt to try and outline it in a future blog. Perhaps I will add the case study I wrote about myself at Uni in 2009 which clearly documents the diagnosis, but this may not fill in enough of the blanks for you so I will work on it further. It is ‘raw’ as you say, but I find some comfort in sharing it, and the journey of writing about it incredibly therapeutic. If it helps others understand more fully what it is like on the dementia train, that can only be a good thing as with better understanding comes imroved care and hopefully greater compassion. Glad you liked the Trixie story too… fyi, she was known to bite too, so I am glad you missed out on that experience! xx

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  2. You amaze me and I am if awe of you and your achievements. Most people who suffer for dementia and the various other ailments would sit in a corner and cry. Not my Kate, your impact on the world outside your office is profound and as the momentum grows will prove to be more impactful than I think you realise. I feel proud and blessed to share your world. Your number 1 fan.

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  3. Cats & the Office, I love retreating to do things even the bookwork I so often complain about but I don’t have a cat that joins me I have my beautiful Golden retriever Pete lay on the floor behind my chair and I have to be careful not to roll back and get him. Chris even leaves me alone when I am in the office it is just one of those places.
    Amazing achievement with the State Library – you are an inspiration to many and a friend to the ‘special few’ I am glad to be in both those categories

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  4. i am glad i read this this morning as i have been slack getting the final draft of toni’s story to kelly for the 100 leaders. so i am putting it on top of my list today. well second thing actually as off to celebrate a mate’s birthday first.

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