Friday, July 31, 2009


I keep having dreams with Ralph in them. This morning he was running and playing with another large dog, a New Foundland, they were so well matched and were having such fun! In reality if Ralph had come across a dog as large as himself he would have come to me and hidden his head between my knees! He did this at the vet's once. We were waiting and the surgery door opened to reveal a rather large Rhodesian Ridgeback, Ralph took one look and "hid" himself! Poor boy, he was such a softy! In all these dreams Ralph is young and vigorous again, I like to think that it's true...........I don't think I'll ever be able to get over his loss, but I do feel happy when I'm dreaming him.

My hands are a total disaster, no prizes for these manicurist's nightmares! I've been doing alot of leather applique, which always leaves my hands in a mess. I use really tiny glover's needles, and they have an extremely sharp three sided point to them which shreds my fingers, but slides through the leather with ease. I have a friend who is a potter, who develped a severe dermatitis from contact with clay (real handy, that). Anyway he treats it with the ointment dairy farmers use on their cows' teats when they get cracked, it works a treat. I have a small jar of the ointment somewhere, I'll have to hunt it out and use it I think. The same stuff is used by many hand embroiderers, too. I imagine it can be bought very cheaply from a rural supplies store, I was given my jar years ago and only use it when my finger tips get severly cracked from multiple needle jabs. A little dab on the offending digit with a "bandaid" over it, and overnight the crack will be all but completely healed! It really is that good! I just thought I'd hand this on to all you fellow sufferers out there.

I have to finish my bears for the next online show "When You Dare To Dream", in September. The photo submission deadline is looming, but I've found it very hard to really get motivated since we lost Ralph. Still, I'm almost done and I'll be getting the photos done in a couple of days. Then I can concentrate on bears for Adelaide and London.

We've been having some fabulous Winter weather lately, with big blue skies and lots of sunshine. I can really relate to being a cat on days like this. I can turn my chair around to bask in the sun streaming in through the bay window, I could almost start purring! Now that we're well past the shortest day, I swear I can hear the birds gearing up for Spring. Soon they will be gathering up tufts of Ralph's undercoat that I've left out after brushing him, and lining their nests with it. It's so soft I'm sure it makes a beautiful lining to nestle into, the little babies will be tucked up nice and warm.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Early on Saturday morning our big, gentle, beautiful Ralph passed away. He had been in hospital since Tuesday after losing the ability to raise himself, we thought it was his arthritis advancing and possibly getting into his spine. An xray revealed absolutely no arthritis in him, so we had to look at other causes for his loss of mobility. It turned out that he had an enormous brain tumor which was reavealed by MRI. We were looking at possibly flying him to Queensland for radiation therapy, but the discovery of the tumor came too late and he died peacefully in his sleep. Looking back, we can now see that the little changes in Ralph's behaviour which we attributed to his getting old and perhaps a little dotty, were actually signs of this growing menace in his brain. These changes happened so slowly and over such a long time, that we got used to them and thought little of them until it was too late. Given the size of the tumor, the vet was surprised that he hadn't been having seizures. I wish that he had, as that would have told us that something was seriously amiss with our wonderful companion, and something could have been done to save him. As it is, the family is still in disbelief, it was heartbreaking to tell our daughter overseas and all I wanted was to have her here so that I could put my arms around her, she sounded so devastated over the phone.

Ralph was one of those perfect beings, he was gentle and a true gentleman. There was absolutely no malice in him, all he ever wanted to do was to please us. As a puppy he learned very quickly, in fact there was very little training needed with him as he seemed to instinctively know what was required. He has been a wonderfully inspirational companion to have around and no doubt he will continue to inspire many bears to come. I am heartbroken and devastated at his loss, there is such a huge hole in my life now. I feel a little better now that he's home with us, we buried him under the walnut trees on Monday, rest in peace Ralphie boy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

OK, we've had enough now!

I'ts been raining non-stop for two days now, I think we've had enough for the time being. There is water flowing where it hasn't flowed for years, so the ground water has been topped up to what used to be normal for Winter. I think I can say with confidence that our dam will be full and flowing over, in the next day or two, something which hasn't occurred for four years! I can only hope this is the end of this drought and we will see a return to normal weather patterns for a while at least.
I've been working on my pieces for the next online show in September. This is an exhibition of master works by some of Australia's best bear artists hosted by (When You Dare To Dream). It will be interesting to see what everyone will have to show. I'm very pleased with how my first two have turned out, just one more to do then I'm done. After which I can get on with getting stock ready for Adelaide and London, the months have slipped by too quickly!
Oh well, at least the weather is good for bear making. Snuggled up inside with the fire burning, a warm woolen jumper on and ugg boots on my feet, listening to the rain on the roof. (We have had enough for now, though!)