Tag Archives: monkey

Monkeys drinking wine, nude maternity photos, and other such topics

I know I said I was going to put up a post on author’s favorite children’s books today, but I’m not. It’s taking longer than I thought it would to draft and I want to do it right. So that’s on next week’s schedule for Writing Wednesday.

In the meantime, in keeping with the childhood theme this week, I’m going to put up a post containing material completely unsuitable for children.

How is that in keeping with the theme of childhood, you might ask? Well, it’s in keeping with mine. To wit, an excerpt from the soon to be published Love At The Speed Of Email:

“Like many kids, I suspect, I was drawn to stories of outsiders or children persevering against all odds in the face of hardship. I devoured all of C.S. Lewis’ stories of Narnia and adored the novels of Frances Hodgson Burnett, especially the ones featuring little girls who were raised in India before being exiled to face great hardship in Britain. But I also strayed into more adult territory. I trolled our bookshelves and the bookshelves of family friends, and those bookshelves were gold mines for stories about everything from religious persecution to murder, rape, civil war, child brides, and honor killing.

“It would be nice,” my father commented dryly upon reading the first draft of this chapter, “if you could manage not to make it sound like our personal library was stocked exclusively with troubling filth.”

“Dad,” I explained, “that’s why I used the gold-mine analogy. You don’t just stumble across gold; you have to dig for it. I worked really hard to find that stuff in amongst all the boring family-friendly fare you were prone to buying.”

Additionally, this post is in keeping with the theme of childhood because, as everyone knows, children can ask a lot of questions. And just as a responsible parent answers their children’s questions (at least the first five times they’re asked), a responsible blogger answers her reader’s questions.

Today I woke up feeling responsible, so here are my answers to some recent search terms and questions asked of google that have led people to my blog.

In no particular order:

When do stitches come out after delivery? They don’t. They sew you up using special thread that dissolves over time.

Monkey drinking wine picture: Here (it should be noted that I was not feeding the monkey wine):

Where can I steal a baby monkey? You should be ashamed of yourself.

What is a cluster bomb? A form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller sub-munitions. Laos is, unfortunately, littered with them – see this post on the UXO museum here.

Bonsai dog: People, I get this one all the time and as far as I know, there is no such thing as a bonsai dog. There are bonsai trees. There are dogs. End of story.

White dog looks like husky: This one post has made me somewhat of a go-to person on white dogs that look like huskies. There are four options – Samoyed, Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamut & Shiba Inu.

Butchering Samoyeds: You should be ashamed of yourself.

Bad puppy chewing rug: Here:

Treating lympedema in puppies: If anyone has any good information on this (or, more usefully, on treating lymphedema in people), leave it below.

Do koalas bite people? No, but drop bears do. Follow the link to familiarize yourself with Australia’s most fearsome predator, the drop bear.

Funny dead cats in oven: Haven’t seen any of these lately, sorry.

Should I move to Laos? Why not, go for it.

Where can I get a Lao second wife? You’ll figure this one out quickly enough on your own after you move here. (And, PS, you should be ashamed of yourself).

Phallic rocks: Here (you may also want to google Cappadocia, Turkey):

How loud is a sperm whale? The sonar clicks produced by sperm whales are the loudest sound produced by a living creature, as loud as thunder. Apparently, when a sperm whale clicks at a diver it’s like getting kicked in the chest by a horse.

Lisa McKay sex trade worker: Not me, people. Lisa Ann McKay. She was convicted of killing a realtor in 2006 and she was recently released.

Does pornography change young minds? Yes. And older minds. For an excellent discussion of this seek out the book The Brain That Changes Itself and read chapter four on Acquiring Tastes and Loves.

How can I break my arm on rollerblades? By falling over.

Elf-milk: Um… drawing a blank on this one. Sorry.

Can I eat sorbet when pregnant? Absolutely, during the last three weeks of pregnancy I helped myself to a bowl (or two) some time between midnight and 4am every day.

Nude maternity photos: Here: … Kidding. I’m so not going there. And before you start looking through all my other posts, I cannot figure out why two people landed on my blog using this search term. Honestly.

That’s it for this session of 20 questions folks. If you have a question for me, you know where to find me. And if you forget, apparently you can just google nude maternity photos.

Have a good weekend.

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Monkeys, puppies, and pregnancy yoga

So much has been happening that I’m not sure where to start. Perhaps with the bad, sad, news. I have been informed that Abu, the monkey, has escaped from his abode and has now been missing for ten days. This means no more monkey play time for me in the near future, and no more monkey photos for you. Mike said that Abu probably ended up in a perfectly lovely soup somewhere. I told him that no one likes him (Mike, that is, not Abu. Everyone liked Abu.)

Well, everyone liked Abu except the person who actually had to live with him when he squeaked like a wind-up toy for hours on end, or leaped up onto the bench and took a single bite out of twenty different bananas, or tormented the puppy to distraction.

Abu, may you rest in peace. I’ll miss you, anyway.

To continue with the less than great news, Zulu’s not himself. Last week he threw up all over the house in the middle of the night. Poor Mike, who got up first and cleaned most of it up, reported that he hit three of the four corners of the rug in the study, and deposited one offering right in the middle.

Post puppy-vomiting Zulu went right off his food, and has refused to eat anything but rice soaked in chicken soup for most of the last week.

Yesterday I came downstairs at lunch to find Zulu galloping around and foaming at the mouth. It looked as if he’d swallowed a whole container of bubble bath. Foam was just dripping from his little jaws and flying around in big, white, bubbly clumps every time he shook his head. He shook his head a lot. This was when I said a small prayer of thanks that I do not have to mop our floors (right before I said a small prayer that went something like, “please don’t let our dog have rabies.”)

We took Zulu outside and poured buckets of cold water over his head to wash away all the foam and then tried to take a look in his mouth to see if anything was in there. He wasn’t a fan of this plan, but as far as we can tell he didn’t get into any of our cleaning products, and we still have no idea what caused the bubble mouth. After an hour it just stopped.

The vet doesn’t think he has rabies (plus, she pointed out, he’s been vaccinated). She thinks he’s been eating geckos or toads. I don’t think so, as he has a lovely habit of bringing whatever he values into the house and dropping it on the floor (this includes large rocks, dead sparrows, big clumps of dirt, and bones) and I haven’t seen any mangled geckos or toads among his treasures.

“Living with Zulu is good training for not needing to have the house neat and clean all the time,” I said the other day, as I stepped over a pile of dirt and shredded newspaper that had been lovingly constructed in the middle of our living room over the weekend.

“So is living with you,” Mike said.

My guess is that Zulu has been sharing a virus with his new five-week-old friend next door, as that puppy has the same symptoms. I did learn something new from the vet yesterday, though. Zulu will take three injections without even a whimper as long as someone is feeding him a steady stream of tiny cheese pieces and/or buffalo meat. I wonder if that will work with babies?

Speaking of babies, I’m at week 14 now and I’ve had more than a week of feeling so much better, but nausea’s back today. What’s up with THAT? I definitely have not been eating geckos or toads (though I was vastly entertained last night to see our local vegetable seller just down the street is now also selling dead rats and toads by the bunch, right alongside the Japanese eggplants and beans).

If only humans hatched babies so I could let someone else sit on the nest for a while. I wouldn’t let Zulu do it – he’d doubtless eat the egg. But Mike’s pretty responsible, I’d let him take the egg to work with him and he could sit on it there.

Given that I can’t palm this off onto Mike, however, I feel I’ve been doing my part to keep the little egg healthy. We regularly walk around town, and I’ve been doing prenatal yoga three times a week. I don’t have a yoga blanket, but I’ve found that the couch cushions work quite well. I don’t have a yoga strap, but one of Mike’s belts is an adequate substitute. And I don’t have a yoga block, but finally I have found a use that my beloved mother will wholeheartedly approve of for the item in the following photograph.

What unusual uses have you been putting household items to lately? And any ideas on puppy bubble mouth? And while I’m asking questions, has anyone seen Abu?

Until next time, thanks for dropping by.

Some of the funny responses

Firstly, thank you all. Mike and I have been positively overwhelmed by the flood of support and well-wishing we’ve received via the blog, facebook, and email since we posted the news last week that we’re expecting a baby! We’re very touched. Your notes and emails have made us smile, share snippets with each other, and laugh.

This week is going to be a busy one for me. I’ve got a lot of work to do on two separate consultancy projects and am not quite sure where blogging will fit in during the first half of the week (not to mention pregnancy yoga and the article I’m also trying to write on expat living in Laos). So, as Mike and I are sitting here on Sunday afternoon answering some of the emails, I decided to keep track of some of the comments that have come in over the last couple of days that have made us laugh and share them with you. Because laughter is always more fun shared.

So here are just a couple of the lines that have made Mike and I giggle over the last couple of days.

“Congratulations – I am quite sure there is no “reset” button so would be best to just go with it now.”

“Lisa. That is fabulous news!!!!!!! Yea and combats to all!!!!!” [I’m assuming that this was meant to be congrats, but even if not, I think it could still be very apt]

“Congratulations – this is great news – enjoy the 6 quiet months left in your life!!!!!!”

“That’s a record. You’ve only had a puppy for 3 months surely?  He must be even cuter than a chocolate Labrador to have worked this type of magic so quickly.” [To which I replied, “He’s pretty darn cute. Then again… he’s also got a mouthful of razor sharp teeth which he is still constantly using to bite our hands, and he has recently taken to leaping on me from behind and humping my leg when I try to walk away from him and he’s in the mood to play.]

“You’ve lived through natural disasters and man-made wars–you’ll not only survive this, you’ll have even more great stories!”

“Unlike many other followers of your blog, I have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant. And to be completely honest it doesn’t sound that appealing…” [To be completely honest, so far I have to say that it’s not that appealing]

“Lisa, my experience of being pregnant was: 1st trimester – the whole world smelled terrible and most of the time I forgot how happy I was to be getting a child because I was vomiting the whole time; 2nd trimester – before I would skip meals because I was busy doing every-day work, and now I would skip everything (even important meetings at work) to go grab something to eat; 3rd trimester – This is when I needed my husband most…to lift me out of chairs. I used to walk faster than everyone on the road and now even slow-walking, elderly, people were walking faster than me. And the toilet becomes your best friend…”

“You don’t want to be a marsupial. Keeping a pouch clean sounds like a hassle to me.” [To which I replied: “We live in Asia. We can hire people to keep a pouch clean. Problem solved.”]

[This comes from someone we know who has previously lived in Laos] “Boy, some people will do anything for some R&R!  Seriously, much congratulations.  We named one of our dogs “kop chai” (thank you) I hereby give you permission to name your child “kop chai lai lai” (thank you very much).”

“Hey Mike – congratulations! Keep in mind that ‘Vinay’ would make a great name for the baby. Even if it’s a boy.” [There’s no keeping this one anonymous. Vinay is a guy Mike met during a trip to Sudan last year.]

“Congrats! Are you guys worried about health care for the birth in Laos?” [To which Mike replied, “Why yes.  So much, in fact that Lisa’s already booked her tickets to Australia.  Even middle class Lao women try not to have their babies in Laos if they can help it (most of them go to Thailand rather than say, Australia).  Yesterday we were talking to a shop keeper (talking in the sense that my Lao is very basic so I probably understood about half of what she was saying) and when I told her that we weren’t going to have the baby in Laos, she looked so relieved that you’d have thought I had given her an injection of valium. On the up side, she taught us the Lao word for “afraid.”]

“Congratulations!  What wonderful news.  Not all babies are like hand grenades.  Alex was more of a claymore mine.” [I think this takes the prize as the single line that made me laugh the hardest, and the longest.]

“Tell Lisa, hand grenade does it no justice at all. Something like seeing the roads in Afghanistan after they’ve been visited by a B52 would be more accurate but you grow to love the new landscape even more than the old.”

“While we all wait patiently for photos of the miniature Wolfey-McKay, please do post more photos of the little monkey!!” [I’ll do my best. In fact, here’s one for you now of Abu doing what I do now when confronted with a glass of wine – look at it longingly.]

To close, here’s one final quote that I love. “You are right–you and Mike will make fabulous parents. And, you are right–there is no good time to have kids and they do change your lives forever. You will never regret it. Keep us posted so we can celebrate with you!”

We will. Thanks again.

Lisa (and Mike)

Koi maan luuk (or, “I am pregnant”)

Koi maan luuk was the first Lao phrase I learned in the new year, and you would have already known this piece of news for at least a month if you lived in Laos. You would know this because you would be the deceptively reserved-looking Vietnamese woman who runs our favourite grocery store and you would ask me the first time you saw me after I’d been away for Christmas: “So, any news to tell me? Any news about a baby?” And I would look totally stunned at being accosted with this query over a basket full of milk and pasta, and then shrug and tell you.

Or you would be Mike’s work colleagues offering me glasses of beer at an event – and there is apparently only one acceptable reason to turn down beer in this country. So I would shrug and tell you.

Or you would be some stranger meeting us for the first time and right after you ask us how long we’ve been married you’d ask us whether we have kids. And, then, when we answered “no”, you’d look worried and ask us whether we will have them? Whether we are, in fact, even trying? So I would shrug and tell you.

Apparently there’s none of this “waiting until three months” thing here, pretty much the minute you find out you’re pregnant, it becomes public knowledge.

I find this practice both refreshing and confronting. Refreshing because you then have a damn good explanation for why you’re always wandering around looking like you might throw up at any moment. And why you’re so wiped out sometimes that you can’t get up off the couch and go out with work colleagues. And, let’s not forget, why you can’t drink beer or homemade whisky.

But it’s also confronting to have this big life event out there as fodder for the communal discussion mill. Everyone’s so happy for you when they hear. They smile really big and say they’re thrilled, and that you must be, too. Often in those moments I wonder whether I look thrilled. I doubt it. I probably look confused, which is fair enough, really, because what I’m thinking is usually some combination of all of the following at once:

  • Oh that’s right, I’m pregnant. I momentarily forgot.
  • Yes, I’m happy
  • No, I’m terrified
  • Actually, I’m hungry
  • Is it too late to push the reset button?
  • Oh, wait, maybe I have to throw up. Yes, I certainly am pregnant.
  • Yes, I am happy. Yeah. Happy.
  • No, I’m terrified…

And so it goes.

I’m not terrified about whether or not I’ll be a good mother. Even though I’ve never really been a kid-person, I reckon I’ll be pretty good as a mother at least 80% of the time. Even if I’m not, Mike’s going to be a great dad, so the baby’s covered. No, true to form, I’m worried about me. I like my life right now. I like my marriage. And I’ve heard babies described as “hand grenades” in relation to both those institutions.

Oh well, I have nine months… scratch that, six months now… to get used to the fact that this particular hand grenade is coming. And that I have to give birth to it.

Gosh, I wish babies came out the size of hand grenades (healthy, of course). I mean, don’t you think koalas have it all over most other mammals in this area? Baby koalas slide on out of the womb when they’re about the size of a jellybean and (pink, hairless, blind, and without ears) nonetheless manage to crawl unaided up their mother’s stomach and squirm into that warm, furry pouch. Then they just hang out there for six months drinking milk until they grow eyes and ears and stop looking so much like a maggot. That’s so the way to do this birth thing. Plus, I bet koalas don’t get morning sick.

Morning sickness… don’t get me started. Next week I might tell you all about how Mike and I found out that I was maan luuk ourselves, and if you’re really lucky I won’t tell you about morning sickness (or, as it should really be called, all-day sickness).

Until then I leave you with a photo and a grandparent-anecdote. After I posted about playing with monkeys last week, my grandfather (who got an iPad and his first ever email account for Christmas) sent me the following…

Hi Lisa,

It’s only me trying to learn to type. If anyone told you that an iPad was easy to learn, especially an 86 year old, don’t you believe them. I am finding it hard to find the letters as they are not in alphabetical order.

We have just been viewing your letter on the monkey visit. What good practice for you. He looks cute, but I think you may be able to do better than that.

Love, Pa.

We’ll see about that, Pa. We’ll see.

Two extremes on the fun scale – monkeys and colds

I’ve had a cold this week. Not a bad one – about a five out of ten. But it’s amazing how even a five out of ten on the congested/sore throat/headache/coughing scale can rob me of most of my energy and desire to do anything productive. I have accomplished things, but the whole week’s been an effort. I have to coach myself through these days, reminding myself after Mike leaves the house around 7:30 to get out of bed, and then eat breakfast, and then make a to-do list, and then make some sort of reasonable attempt to accomplish at least half of what’s on that list. On the fun scale, colds don’t rate.

By last night, however, I was feeling well enough to leave the house and venture out on a hot date with Mike to see a monkey.

Yup, a monkey.

Apparently our recent adventures in puppy ownership inspired someone we know in town, Ryan, to pick up a puppy of his own when he was out in a village recently. When we saw him on Sunday he mentioned that the most fun he’d had in ages was watching this puppy play with his monkey.

“You have a monkey?” I asked suspiciously.

Ryan is naturally deadpan in much of his delivery. This means that half the time we’re talking I (being Australian and thus culturally hardwired to suspect multi-layered straight-faced mocking is taking place whenever anyone speaks without noticeable emotion) suspect that he is making fun of me, or just flat out making things up. This is despite the fact that in the three months I’ve so far interacted with him, I think Ryan has only actually made fun of me once or twice and I don’t think he’s ever fabricated something like a pet monkey out of thin air. This leads me to believe that I am either: (a) a slow learner; (b) mildly paranoid; or (c) that Ryan has devious depths I have not yet glimpsed but can sense are there.

I’m still running with theory C for the time being – at least until I gather a critical mass of evidence to the contrary (which may take another year).

When it appeared that Ryan was not making up the existence of this monkey, or the amusing monkey-puppy antics, I promptly invited Mike and myself around to witness this fun and games.

“OK,” Ryan said, imperturbable, when I announced that we would be descending upon his house sometime that week armed with wine, cheese, and a camera. “Sounds good.”

So round we went last night, and it was great cold medicine. When we arrived the monkey, Abu, the size of a doll, was suffering a bath in the sink. But after he was all toweled off he put on a proper show for us while four of us sat on the porch and took in the sunset.

Abu hung upside down off the edge of the railing and taunted the puppy by flicking her ears, then dropped down and tussled with her (the puppy, even at only five weeks, has the advantage in terms of weight and teeth, even if not agility). He scampered up into my lap, clung to my arm, and chattered up into my face. He moved incredibly fast to steal skittles out of my hand, showed prurient interest in the wine, and begged shamelessly for cracker crumbs. Then, as night fell and Ryan was busy explaining why he shaved the sides of Abu’s head to give him a little monkey Mohawk, and exactly how much of a pain in the ass Abu could be when he got going, the little monkey settled down in the crook of my arm and to suck his thumb and sleep.

For me, monkey rate very highly indeed on the fun scale. Do animals rate on your fun scale? What’s the most fun you’ve had with an animal recently?