Saturday, December 29, 2007

City Lights



Obviously, this entry is very late in being posted. I'm sure you won't be surprised to see that taking photos of lights at night from a moving bus result in rather abstract Christmas images. Still, they amused me. So, I'm sharing. Oh, and I just posted the photos from the lights at the catholic church. You'll need to go back to the post from Christmas day. Go on. I'll wait.

Kevin and I took the Brisbane lights tour on Thursday night (20 Dec 20). Three hours winding through neighborhoods of South Brisbane checking out the biggest light displays. Our bus was about ½ full with half a dozen young girlfriends in the front (8- 10 years old) and the back seat filled with a similar number of rowdy teens. Our girls distributed song sheets so we could carol our way through- though it was the teens in the back that called the shots (or songs, as it were.) They preferred the up tempo carols- Rudolf and Jingle Bells and Jingle Bell Rock. Silent night never made it to the table and Away in a Manger died out in the first verse. It was easy to sing along. No one sang in the same key as her neighbor. There were a couple of unique Australian carols- but as to a tune, your guess is as good as mine. Jingle Bells was re-themed to Oz “Dashing through the bush in a rusty Holden Ute. Kicking up the dust. Esky in the boot. Singing Christmas songs. It’s summer time and I am in my singlet, shorts and thongs.”

The prevalence of outdoor lights was much less than what I’m used to in the US, but those who committed, did so with a zeal unsurpassed by any. Lights didn’t just outline a house, they smothered it. One star of Bethlehem was insufficient. Six, ten, twelve Santas. Nativities facing off with Snow White and the seven dwarves. Snowmen and toy soldiers, and penguins, and trees. All I could think was spiders...



Our yard is covered with spiders. They cover every bush and span every gap between. These Aussies seemed to have embodied the spider psyche and endeavored to cover absolutely every surface and span every gap with a web of lights. They created walls of lights and tent-like ceilings of light. That was not my first spider thought, however. My first thought was

Our yard is covered with spiders. What would they do with all those extra surfaces from which to spin their webs? How many webs would I walk through trying to put those lights up?? Arghhhhhh.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Andy Warholiday!



Happy Boxing Day!

Actually, no one ever wishes you a happy boxing day! They are too busy not going to work. We got busy with not working, too. We had big plans. Revisit the GOMA to check out the Andy Warhol exhibit that opened Dec 8th (you remember, Andy Warhol- who Kevin had seen everything already at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh- for free) and see a new movie.

We left for the museum around noon. It was a drizzly sort of day. Yesterday with the heavy cloud cover and 16 sprinkles was MUCH BETTER beach weather! The exhibit was very cool. I got to see everything I expected to see - Campbell Soup Cans, Brillo Boxes, Marilyn Monroe - and marvelous things I never knew about- Mao Zedong wallpaper, lips and shoes and giant guns! One of the things we most enjoyed were the comments/questions/information posted with displays that were written for children. "Do you think they (the stamped dollar bills) are all the same?" "Do you think there is a million dollar bill?" "Jackie Onasis (I'm paraphrasing here) was the beautiful wife of the American President John F. Kennedy. Her life was marked by great shock and sadness when her husband was shot to death. In these prints, does she look like she is feeling sad?"

Actually, we probably had the most fun in the children's wing. That is where they set up the "Silver Clouds" Exhibit. You can walk amongst and bounce about rectangular, silver, helium-filled pillows. One little girl was quite ruthless in her zeal for the balloons and would dash under Kevin and steal them as they fell his way. The other big joy was the photo booth. (They actually had 4 of them) where you could take your photo, choose your own Warholesque color variations, then email them home! No one was waiting- so we went crazy.

Our movie- "Enchanted". We were both enchanted by Amy Adams performance. The story was wholly predictable- but that comes as no surprise in a fairy tale. Still, it did disappoint Kevin. He didn't like it as much as I did- but the film was starting at a disadvantage on the Kevin meter, anyway. Family Film. Romantic comedy. Singing. I'm recommending it because I think everyone needs to see Amy. And, after,they need a grown-up film to continue their Amy Adams fest "Junebug".

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On the twelfth day of Christmas



Also, traditionally, the First Day of Christmas. And, for today- a sing along!

Santa came. No overheating of the reindeer.

Breakfast of french toast and scrambled eggs. Then a shower and change into the Christmas clothes my sister had made for us last year. We are a very coordinated household. Only THEN did we open presents.



The first present opened was Zelda's. A red children's ball. Wow. She was beside herself with joy. For the next hour she ran practically without pause chasing that ball through the house. We realized that we now knew what our big empty lounge should be- the ballroom! The ball became a wet sloppy mess of saliva and dog hair leaving skid marks on the walls. (Oh, great. I guess that vacuum isn't picking up very well.) She'd get it lodged between "her" chair and the kitchen door jam and then just lick it. Eventually, the licking and mouthing won. We heard a pop. Like virtually every one of Zelda's favorite gifts- this one didn't last the day. Actually, it lasted much longer than most have. The stuffed bear that Marianna sent- 5 minutes to disembowelment.

We were very very lucky to have gifts from my family and from my friend Carolyn's family. And, each other. Kevin was most impressed that he received several games from me. I loved the shirt and necklace that Carolyn sent....and the coolo digital photo frame from Kevin. We both rejoiced in new socks and underwear. (In my family- no one every has to buy their own underwear.)

Christmas lunch. Gazpacho and salmon salad. Kevin was INSTRUMENTAL in making the food processor work- note- line up the arrows on the front. He also did some excellent chopping of celery and onions.

So, it was about 3 when we left for the beach. We headed up to Caloundra- because Kevin wanted an Ocean beach- not just a beach on Moreton Bay. For the entire hour drive there were always 4 drops of rain on the windscreen. A very dark, dark cloud loomed to the right. Plenty of parking and room on the beach- though there WERE lots of kids toting their new boogie boards- including Kevin. I was concerned that I wouldn't be warm enough. It was only 25 (78) and my mother never let us go to the pool unless it was 80. And, it was chilly standing in the wind on the shore- laughing as Kevin tried to ride a wave. It looked like so much fun that we took my camera back to the car for safekeeping and I entered the water. Just standing in the waves- HUGE waves, by the way- I was carried 3, 4, 6 feet forward. But, let me try to mount the board and I'm buried. It was very, very fun.



Back home we showered again then drove off to photograph the lights at the Baptist and Catholic churches in our old neighborhood. Churches at home don't put up Christmas lights... These had to be shared. Unfortunately, the Baptists weren't lit. So, when that Christmas lights entry gets written, all you'll see are the ones from the Catholic church. Pious. I think that's the word you'll be looking for.




Christmas day movie- "The Proposition". An Australian film that takes place at Christmas. It is one of those films where you KNOW that nothing is going to turn out well. Christmas day movie fare- fresh cherries and lychees and out of date Camembert cheese (11/23/07). (Lychees- Lotte at the clinic asked me recently- "What is your favourite (I'm sure she used the u) Christmas fruit?" "huh?" Anyway, lychees and mangoes are hers.)

Note- photos to come later.

Monday, December 24, 2007

On the eleventh and a half day of Christmas



Yes, I know, it is Carol of the Bells, again. But, this one is for my friends and family in Ohio. This morning when I called home (that would be last night for you), my sister said it was blizzarding. I love George Winston and I think this poster created a beautiful collage of snow.

No snow here. But, it was overcast so not as hot.

Back to work. Hmmmm. I just realized I left before the champagne was served. Hmmmmm. We were pretty busy- but finished as hoped by 3 PM.

Christmas eve entertainment- "Badder Santa". We enjoyed the film- funny and sweet. Kevin gives it 3 stars (of 4). It was great to revisit the film but we can't recommend it over just plain "Bad Santa"...unless you thought during the original "That cursing should last longer".

Christmas eve dinner: Roast Salmon and Vegetables (from Real Simple Magazine)

2 large fennel bulbs
1 pt grape tomatoes
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 and 1/2 tsp salt (kosher- I used sea salt)
1/4 tsp of black pepper
6 springs of fresh thyme
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, remove skin

Preheat oven to 400 F
Cut each fennel bulb in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut each half into 6 wedges.
In roasting pan/baking dish combine everything except the salmon. Spread into a single layer.
Roast until fennel is tender- about 40 min.
Season salmon with some additional salt and pepper then place on the top of the vegetable mix.
Roast until fillets are the same color throughout and flake easily. (The recipe suggests 12 min- but it depends on the thickness of the fillets. Ours took about 20.)
Remove/discard the lemon before serving- or just tell Kevin not to eat it.

Oh, and I obviously miscounted when I started my countdown to Christmas... I guess that sort of thing doesn't happen if you START the 12 days of Christmas with Christmas day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On the eleventh day of Christmas



Christmas is really rushing up on us. I am starting to feel a bit harried. Thinking things like "Why didn't I start writing these Christmas cards in November when I bought them? Or, any time before right now?" "Why didn't I wrap gifts as I bought them?" We bought the food we'd need for Christmas dinner and boxing day: Salmon and Tuna steaks. We bought some final gifts. I put the decorations on our tree and trailed our strand of 240 lights around the house looking for a place to put them....without using either tape or nails. (It really can't be done, by the way.)

Just as Kevin was getting ready to leave to do some gaming, our electricity went out. We weren't sure if the problem was with our house or the entire neighborhood. We weren't sure WHERE the fuse box WAS! Kevin donned his "brave man" hat and exited the house through the door in the laundry. (That's the door that opens into a humongous spider web equipped with a gigantous spider. Think "It".) After deftly dismantling the web and climbing up onto the spider to crush it, he discovered the fuse box wasn't out there. It is out front. It looked ok to us- so we asked a neighbor who was outside on his cel phone. The power was out there, too. I'm not sure why, it must be the looming holiday stress, but our discussion was immediately about the power being out FOR DAYS. No air conditioning! Forty dollars of fresh fish in the frig! No LIGHTS!! The latter may seem funny to you- but here on the longest days of the year it is dark by 7 PM. What was I going to do with two candles and a flashlight? How was I going to finish those Christmas cards??

Stress stress stress stress worry worry worry

The power was back on within the hour.

And, the cards. Nah. They didn't really get finished. Sounds like a good project for boxing day.

(It is getting harder and harder to choose just one song for the entry.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

On the tenth day of Christmas



Today's music is setting the scene for the big 80's party at the Globe Theatre. The club (I guess that's what you'd call it) was PACKED with mostly 20 somethings and us. Packed and tiny. No real dance floor- how 80's is that?! The DJ, teetering on his platform shoes (wrong decade), was playing a lot of not-overly-danceable songs. Still, it was hot and fun. Eventually they opened up the "theater" and played music videos ("The Never Ending Story", "She Bop", "West End Girls"... most of which the DJ had JUST PLAYED- I think he got his playlist by looking at the video collection) while dancing occurred up near the stage. We did get the chance to dance to "Rock Lobster" not once, but twice....and "Whip it" (whip it good). The train ride home was blissfully quiet. I guess that is the advantage of leaving at 11:30 rather than later. Note- Kevin has pointed out that it sounds like I didn't have such a good time. Au contraire! I had a marvelous time. I got to DANCE.

Otherwise, the day was just one of those easy Saturdays with some exercise, some napping, and Kevin buying my Christmas present!

Friday, December 21, 2007

On the ninth day of Christmas



I wrote my cards.

Oh, and went shopping at 5 AM. Bought Zelda's Christmas present.

Then, took a nap.

We ended the evening with the "Extras" Christmas special...which was about 60 minutes too long. What a waste.

The holiday lights yesterday, by the way, were great. I've got to create a special City Lights Blog entry. Maybe tomorrow while Kevin is out.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On the eighth day of Christmas



This doesn't happen often- I'm writing my blog in somewhat the middle of the day. (Therefore, this entry is subject to later editing.) The big, big, big Christmas event has yet to happen- though we picked up the tickets. We board the bus at 6:45! Woo hoo!! I'm doubting I'll be able to take a photo worth looking at from the bus- but you don't need that. You have the house above! (Carol of the Bells is getting alot of play here. I like that carol- and, lets face it- I had to use this video.)

Otherwise, I DID start writing my Christmas card, sort of. I DID do some Christmas shopping and bought something for Kevin. Not the pretty green shirt, however. Nobody needs an $80 short sleeved oxford shirt- even if the color is very, very nice. I bought some decorations- but no lights. I was ASTOUNDED to find a box of 300 of the small lights (fairy lights they're called here) were priced at - are you sitting down? $79.00! Eegads! I also vacuumed the living room. That will be obvious to Kevin. The vacuum is still in the middle of the floor. (Ann's signature.)

In other news- crime wave hits Hibiscus Circuit. SOMEBODY pulled out two of my baby plants from the bed. I found a zinnia and one of my rudbeckia lying flat on top of the soil with their little root balls exposed. They were pretty withered. I put them in a cup of water before I left home this afternoon and the zinnia, at least, perked up. Who would do such a thing? Oh, the inhumanity!

I'm sure the lights will be fun- so I'll go ahead and say it now.

Oh, and Santa WAS still at Chermside. I guess his leaving was a threat to increase the tendency for nice versus naughty behavior.

And, one more thing. This is ALL NIGHT SHOPPING at Chermside. I'm going at 4 AM- just to say I did it.

Better wake up Kevin. We need to get the best seat on the bus!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the seventh day of Chirstmas



A work day. Somewhat busy. No crisis...that's festive, isn't it?

Mostly, it was a day of planning Christmasy things. Mostly, lights. Shay drew me a map to a neighborhood in North Brisbane that has really good lights AND I bought tickets for Kevin and me to take the Christmas light bus tour. We are going tomorrow evening- 3 hours!- leaving from downtown and touring the Southern suburbs. Our choices- North, West, South- big money prize for anyone who can guess why NOT East.... Kevin thought there might be more $$ in the Southern suburbs...so they might have more lights. We'll see. My thought was we could drive around up north and see lights on our own. One day. But, not today. Not tomorrow. Not Saturday.

Will she start her Christmas cards tonight? Good question.

And, the music...can you pick out Boy George in this one?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the sixth day of Christmas



Only 1 more day of work this week! Hard to have much Christmas to add when you get home, eat, and it is 7:23. Off to play a game with Kevin.

Oh, today's music. Had to happen after I read someone's comment on youtube- asking who the ginger haired woman in the beginning was...

uhmmm....that would be Boy George.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On the fourth day of Christmas



Sunday. Like many Sundays, our first expedition was to Chermside to the grocery. Even though we arrived late (at 10 AM), Kevin was able to use his superpowers to find a parking spot in our "regular" lot. I convinced him he should see Santa before shopping. Good thing, too. Little did I know that Santa is shipping out tomorrow. Guess it is because we don't have TV that I didn't know that Santa was so behind this year in his toy making/gift wrapping. Maybe the elf union is actually a subgroup of the television writers? Anyway, Kevin was surprised by how space age Santa's castle was. I guess you can't capture the 21st century, global-warming-has-erased-all-concept-of-snow feel with a photograph.

Next- tree shopping. Here is the selection at Coles. A very bedraggled group.

We ended up getting a small live tree (Norfolk Pine) which Kevin says does NOT look like a Christmas tree- to which I reply- it is green. Now, if we only had decorations. Maybe I'll do that Thursday.

Important soccer game with Zelda in the back yard. I'm not sure what position she plays. Something like goalie- but with more running, chasing, and barking.

Finally- off to the GOMA. We went to watch a pair of Andy Warhol films. Fine napping. We dashed through the collection which STILL includes the infinity room- but didn't see the traveling Warhol exhibit. (It wouldn't be a complete entry without repeating what Kevin tells me EVERY TIME I mention seeing the Warhol exhibit. He's been to the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh- multiple times.) Neither, did we crash the museum members' Christmas party.... We might have tried if we had just dressed a little better.

As any good night should, it ended with Arrested Development.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On the third day of Christmas



Big Christmas day.

First, I immersed myself in over-the-top Christmas mall shopping complete with circling the parking lot 3 times. I didn't do much shopping, actually. I bought a couple of small things. It was "enough" to be part of the throng- shoulder to shoulder shuffling through the retail Christmas wonderland. And, to eat sushi. Actually, even with the metal trees and robot angel, it doesn't feel like Christmas at Chermside. Maybe I'm missing the mental and physical on-again, off-again oppression of carrying/wearing a winter coat. Maybe I'm just a sucker for green trees and poinsettias. I think the old Salem Mall did Christmas best- with a towering tree made of red poinsettias.

Later, Kevin and I went to his office holiday party at the Albion Raceway. All you can eat buffet dinner and sulky races. We won BIG. Each employee received four race tickets, so we had an invested interest in four of the races. Two of our horses came in dead last! The third horse came in forth. And, our forth horse WON!! At the end of the night we turned in our ticket and pocketed $5.30! We are so ahead! Parking was only $4!!

Finally, on the way home we took a detour to check out the Christmas lights at Kevin's co-worker's Karen's home. (Wondering now what is the greatest number of words one can string together with possessive 's es.) Good job, Karen.



Oh, and I know this isn't a carol- but it is Michelle Shocked singing on Christmas Day.

Friday, December 14, 2007

On the Second Day of Christmas



"Charlie Brown's Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

I don't remember these being broadcast so late- I had trouble keeping my eyes open.

These holiday classics followed taking Kevin out to celebrate my raise. We went to the Full Moon Hotel in Sandgate. Couldn't get a table while the sun shone- so the view of the water was unimportant. The live music, however.... At least we figured they were paying these two guys for live music. Both dressed in white- not so much like Mr. Clean as like painters leaving for work - you know, before they get splattered. One man stood and "played" his mixing board. Pulling up tunes from the late 70's and 80's: Wham, The Weather Girls, and, can you believe it... The King of Pop, himself, with "Don't stop til you get enough". (THANK GOD we parked WAYYYY down the street!) His mate played the bongos. Yep. On top of the recorded music. And, no one was dancing.

Sigh.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

On the first day of Christmas



Dinner out with Terry and Sherri, Tom, Brianna, and Fletcher at Da Sette Soldi- an Italian Restaurant on Sandgate Road.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

12/12/12/12/12/12/12



December 12. 12 December. It doesn't matter what country I'm in...12/12...I can't go wrong!

I don't really have a focus this evening. (If I did, my desk would be cleaned off and I'd have ordered those Christmas gifts that are on my to do list. Or, maybe, I would have finished reading the book I've borrowed from the library- and is due.) So, this is just a collection of random thoughts.




Having trouble sleeping through the night. I'm blaming this on the raucous partying of the flying foxes in our backyard. "I saw the way you looked at her" "You come over here and say that" "PARTYYYY" and all the while they are decimating our mango crop. At least, they're getting the blame. Could be something else. Like the outrageous number of SPIDERS in our yard. Maybe they have some sort of eight-legged, web-hopping bucket brigade going. They are getting pretty cheeky too. Stringing their damned webs across all points of egress AT FACE HEIGHT. Kevin's pointed out that they are pretty much encasing the perimeter with a web...like we are already caught and they're just waiting to suck out all our juicy bits.

Oh, and you missed the mouse. But, I didn't.

My petunias are dying. One by two. Today they are lush and blooming and tomorrow they are shriveling. I think something is chewing through their stems just at or below ground level. Or, they are getting stepped on and snapping or... I need to ask someone at a garden center. And, I need to make them little collars to protect them. Soon. Before there are none to protect.




Instead, today I bought more plants. I haven't told Kevin yet, wait, I think I'm doing it now... I haven't told Kevin that I bought more than I really have places to plant them. I could make a clean sweep of the petunias and stick in my new guys... but I think I'll try to save the petunias that are left. I know you're curious. I bought more zinnias because the two I had planted were doing so well. I bought more cosmos because the two I had planted were doing so poorly. And, I love cosmos- especially sensation- though I'd like to try sea shells, sometime. I bought more gazania in two different colour varieties because the ones I had were thriving. And, because I've never grown them but I think they are fun flowers- gerbera daisies. So, along with getting ready for Christmas, I need to either weed the bed beside the driveway more completely- or dig a new bed in the backyard. Hmmmmmm... Whatever I do, you can bet I'll be doing it about 6 AM when one can almost fool oneself into thinking it is "cool" outside.



Oh, and is it any wonder that I have trouble determining LEFT while driving?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I had a client Monday




tell me that her daughter works in the customer service center at Chermside Mall. Over the weekend her daughter received a complaint from one of the mall customers that the holiday decorations were UNATTRACTIVE and she would not be shopping there in the future.

How could you not just laugh?

Speaking of laughing and Christmas and holiday shopping, everyone is invited to re-listen to one of the all-time-best Christmas stories ever: David Sedaris reading his "Santaland Diaries" on "This American Life" in 1996. You'll need to click on Full Episode- Then listen through or fast forward about 4 and 1/2 minutes to Act 2. (It IS edited, by the way - the uncut version is found in "Holidays on Ice". Pick it up. You need it.)



I must admit, however, that Chermside's Christmas is very space age. I think that is a robot angel parked by the three trees. I think these decorations could only be created by people who have only seen snow on TV.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Graduation day



My mother reminded me this morning. It has been two years already. It feels so much longer. My dad only spent one night at the hospital. We got a call early on Tuesday morning. My mother told me that, although they told her he was fading, he was already gone. I don't think it was one of her clairvoyant moments. I think she just believed hospitals prefer to say "they're leaving" to "they're gone". We drove to Greenville right away. But we didn't hurry. Two white tail deer bounded across the road as we traveled through the early morning fog.

So much of those last fews days are a horror. I don't know if it better to remember or forget. Despite my mother's admonition to be happy- that this was a happy day- I cried. I cried. I was numb. And, when we went to visit the minister she'd chosen, I had no memories to add. I couldn't touch that part.

I loved my father. I didn't figure out until I was 18 that he wasn't perfect. Well, I knew he had bad habits. But, he was my dad- who helped me, who told funny jokes, who always had a hug for me everyday. We spent much of one summer together when I was about 13 or 14- golfing every evening after work.

Then I got too old and too busy. Then, he fell from grace.

Its just a part of growing up. Parents becoming human. Learning forgiveness and acceptance.

In his last years I learned how much alike we are. Quiet. Hard working. Determined. (But, I can't remember a joke.)

He was 78. Until the last few weeks, he was going to live to be 80. His last surgery had been the previous winter and the doctor then told us he would likely not get out of the hospital. But, he got out. He healed. He walked laps around the house. He golfed- up to the week before he died.

Happy graduation day, Dad. I still love and miss you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ironies

Well, only one irony. Maybe if I try hard enough I can find another. They are usually ALL over my life- making quite a clutter.

Tomorrow, I leave to spend my WEEKEND OFF with Kevin in Sydney! Since last Saturday, he's been away in Blaney - probably misspelled-probably there is an r or two in there. He finishes his class on Friday and will drive into Sydney to fetch me from the airport. Then, we'll do fabulous Sydney things. All we have planned with any confidence is driving to some spot in Manly. (It will be better than it sounds here. Scenic. Walking. Views of the city, the harbour, the ocean- some or all of the above.) After that, we could do ANYTHING. Maybe you should watch the news.

And, while I'm away, guess who's coming to Brisbane? Go ahead. Try.

Yes, it's Joan Armatrading! I learned about it while listening to the radio on Tuesday. WHY can't the radio tell me about things happening in two weeks? Arghhh! Of course, I wouldn't have the same hot date I had for the last Joan Armatrading concert AND she's only performing for an hour. She's touring with Bryan Ferry. Yes, and without me. Sigh.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday at the Sea



I'm not saying that Kevin's been holding us back...but he's gone and Zelda's had her first experience with the Pacific Ocean. Sort of. More like Moreton Bay. OK. She didn't actually get wet. She backed up from the "surf" swishing in under the Redcliffe jetty. That counts for something.

She's not much of a water dog. She has been to the Atlantic (Wrightsville Beach, NC) and she has been swimming. The latter, however, was unplanned by all concerned. We were visiting my sister. It was Zelda's first visit and we were in the backyard. We climbed up the stairs to look at the above ground pool. Zelda was fascinated by the self-propelled pool sweeper. She had to have it. And, in a Wile E. Coyote move she walked off the edge of the deck and "onto" the blue surface. There was a moment when time stood still and she looked down to discover there was no ground underneath her.

Then, she was swimming.

No longer interested in the sweeper, she just circled along the edge until I could reach in and drag her out. After that, she wouldn't even climb the stairs to be on the pool deck.

Today, however, was hot and "dry". Even at 8 AM the sun is intense for a black dog. We walked along the shore, out on the jetty (where Zelda barked at the squeaky noises the floating docks made), back past the "settlement lagoon". We hugged the sidewalk as far away from the lagoon as possible as there were numerous signs posted banning dogs under penalty of fine (up to $1500!) for being in the lagoon area.

Next time we'll go earlier and maybe only to around Brighton. I was intrigued by all the pelicans sitting on the street lights overhanging the bridge there. I think I need to see more.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Election day

Very different from being at home. First of all: it is a Saturday. Secondly, the Liberals are Conservative. And, I understand, voting is compulsory. People keep asking me whether I can/will be voting. You'd think they could hear the non-voting accent.

Without a television or newspaper, our exposure to the candidates and election is pretty light. I hear ads on the radio and pass BILLBOARDS on the highway. "Australian families have never been better off" John Howard. Who is moved by this kind of statement coming from the incumbent candidate? If it is true, why isn't there a similar statistic coming from an independent, or at least independent sounding, source? And, I'm moved to guess that these better off Australian families must be doing something WAY differently than Kevin and I. We both have good jobs, but we cannot imagine how we could ever afford to own our own home here. That is, own our own home and STILL eat on a regular basis.

The AM talk-jockies were yesterday going on about "how to vote" flyers that people are handed at the polling stations. I don't think these are manuals on how to push buttons or press levers or throw chads to the wind. I think they are identifying party affiliation and maybe party positions (??) on proposed bills...but I was perplexed for a nanosecond or two.

Meanwhile, Zelda is bugging me to take her to the polling station. She, and rightly so, reminds me that she is now Australian and, therefore, she is compelled to express her opinion. I think she hasn't really been taking time to read about the candidates or been taking any of "W"'s calls because I heard her sitting on her chair last week woofing out "Rudd". Yikes. Maybe because his name is Kevin she thinks he'll sleep with her. I can't believe she's changed her political stripes. I feel like I'm probably saving her from tremendous embarrassment by preventing her from voting "Labour".

Anyway, I did have a brush-once-removed with a local candidate from the Liberal Party. About 3 weeks ago I looked out our office window and saw a video crew with their big fuzzy microphones camped out on our bench. Seems they were supposed to be filming in a local dress shop a statement by "the candidate" about crime - but when they arrived they found that the shop had JUST BEEN ROBBED. In Bald Hills. A dress shop. How much business could they "enjoy"? prior to 2 PM? on a rainy Thursday? As an American I knew what had to be going on. My suspicions were heightened the next week when my boss told me that she was in the dress shop and the proprietor seemed pretty cool about it and told her he wasn't permitted to discuss the crime. Ongoing investigation? or, drama-grad-gets-big-break in politics?

Updated to add: Congratulations to Kevin Rudd.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!



It is the eve of our second thanksgiving in Australia. Last year I was not working and so was much more prepared for the big day having researched recipes for pumpkin pie filling, pie crust, dressing, and poultry seasoning. This year- having worked the last two nights until 7 plus- the plan is to buy a roasted chicken from the GOOD shop (Fresh Zone). If I get ambitious I may put together a batch of noodles- though I wonder if noodles need to dry out before cooking. Hmmmm. That would make noodling an early morning activity. The other item that is important to me is pumpkin pie. I used to make pumpkin pieless back in Cleveland. (I'll share my recipe. Put together the pie filling according to the can of Libby's pumpkin and bake it in a pie pan without a crust.) I suppose it would work in Australia with filling made from a real pumpkin (like the kind that could carry you to the ball if you had a team of mice and a fairy godmother- Australia, for all its fondness for pumpkin does not sell any pumpkin puree in the vegetable aisle. What's with that?) The alternatives are either Flicker's no fail pie crust- which I failed with on my last attempt. A "no roll" press-in pie crust I found on-line. Or, buying crust units from the frozen food section of Coles. Hmmmm.... Now, you won't sleep wondering what I do. Sorry about that.



My first Thanksgiving away from home occurred in 1985. Wow. That's over 20 years ago! I stayed in Durham. I think I was probably raising squab for my research project. My friend Carolyn flew down from NYC to join me. A few nights before I stopped by the North-something mall- you know- the one the hurricane blew the roof off? Or, then again, was it the South-something mall? Anyway, I was about the only soul walking through the mall when I was accosted by some child selling tickets for a turkey raffle. I don't know WHY I bought a ticket. I must have recently been paid. Anyway, I won. I won a 20 pound bird. Carolyn and I took that turkey to a butcher and had it cut in half. Half we cooked...well, SHE cooked. The other half we took to a local food pantry. Still, that was a ton of bird. I remember eating turkey on homemade popovers with cranberry sauce for days- sitting in the quad in between the psych building and the hospital.

So, on the occasion of thanksgiving- I am thankful for my family and friends-new, old, and yet to be discovered. For my home and totally-almost-perfect car. For my dog, Zelda, and the backyard family of butcher birds who serenade me and amuse me as they feed their overgrown baby. I am thankful that my own birds- Beeker, Big Bird, and Modern Physics have good homes back in the US without me. I am thankful that I have a job with people I like (and that I got a raise today!) I am thankful that my bed is firm and my pillow reliable. And, I have tomorrow off.

Beat it

MJ has been excised from the red dragon. We took our lovely red beast to the Aspley Automotive and King-of-Pop Exorcism shop on Monday. They found one sequined glove jammed in the choke and for a meager $180 removed it, checked the brakes ("Break it up, break it up, break it up. Break down!"), AND changed the oil. Now, the car is even MORE perfect and humming a different tune.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Santa Claus is coming to town



Actually, his sleigh pulled up to Chermside LAST weekend. That's the nice thing about Australia, as far as Santa is concerned. No silly "Thanksgiving" holiday to keep him from getting in an extra week or so of prime child-holding, minimum wage earning time! I didn't stop by to welcome Mr. Claus. (I was recovering from my late night out with Kevin and Colin.) I am moved to wonder if the Santas in Australia, New Zealand, South America, etc are actually stationed at the South Pole...??? Maybe their sleighs are pulled by penguins rather than reindeer?? Cathi? can you hear me?? What's the story?

Brisbane's been busy putting up holiday decorations. I'm amused by the heavy reliance on the snowflake motif for the decorations on the Queen's Street Mall. Sure there are a legion of angels...but it's a damn blizzard of blue snowflakes!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's a Beautiful World

My my my



The concert was great fun! The hall had no seats and while we were permitted to sit on the floor during the opening act- two bald guys from Caboolture, guitar/singer and harmonica, doing the blues... sort of- once Colin was imminent "everyone on his feet". We were in the 3rd row. Close enough to spit- if you were a spitter

"or a woman if you are one"

Colin opened with two acoustic numbers- "It's a Beautiful World" and "(I Just Don't Think I'll ever) Get Over You". Just Colin, his guitar, and that wonderful voice. Then, his band joined him. They played pieces from his new album and ALL the Men at Work tunes you'd want to hear!

"who can it be now?"

Wow. The audience- at least up front- was packed with very, very happy looking 40 and 50 year old people having a very, very, very good time. Sure, we might all have complained after that the sloping floor hurt our backs or that the volume was so high it distorted the music...but we were transported and free.

"ghosts appear and fade away"

I'm way overdue for that night of dancing. I'm ready.

Friday, November 16, 2007

And now for something completely different

Actually, that would have been a better title for the lecture by Michael Palin that I didn't attend with Kevin LAST week. Silly me. I forgot to note on the calendar that I was off Wed rather than Thursday...and the lecture was- this should be obvious- Thurs. Kevin bought be a ticket. Thank you. And, sold it to Aaron.

Tonight, however, we're off to see Colin Hay. I didn't know Colin Hay by name until Wed morning when I caught part of an interview on the radio. He was the lead singer for Men at Work and, according to the radio interviewer, puts on a very entertaining performance now by himself. He supposedly does a lot of talking. I'm hoping I can understand what he's saying. The door opens at 8 PM. I'm not sure when we'll stroll in. We know the performance isn't starting at 8. I'm just hoping it starts before 10 PM.

The last similar concert we went to was at the Odeon in Cleveland: They Might Be Giants. That night the headliner didn't start until about 11 PM. YAWN. Fortunately, we got to see this far-out (I don't use that adjective willy-nilly by the way) band: The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. While I enjoyed TMBG (though not as much as when I heard them perform at The College of Wooster- when I heard them much EARLIER in the evening), it was the Trachtenburg's who made the night. I wanted to link here a video of their performance of "Look at Me" which is an amazing musical, lyrical, visual experience. But, an extensive search only finds lyrics or recording of the song. If you listen to it, you may be disappointed. They aren't outstanding musicians. You need the whole act to "get it". So, here's another of their pieces "Mountain Trip to Japan, 1959".

Garden musings



I have been very, very fortunate. Ever since I planted that first flat of annuals we have enjoyed a couple days of showers each week. What's more- they have always come after one of my days off when I've stuck MORE plants into my garden. I've only had to tote buckets twice! And, now, my babies are starting to look bigger...It is time to get out and feed them.

All of this has led me to an unreasonable level of giddiness and ambition. In this 60 year drought, I'm looking at ALL the overgrown beds here and seeing flowers. My mission this weekend was to find rudbeckia and salvia to plant along the driveway. Some nice North American plants. And, relatively good with low water conditions.

I've even toyed with seeds- California poppies, cosmos (one of my all time favorites), sunflowers, moonflowers and morning glories. I have NEVER seen seeds here for either my favorite sunflowers- Italian White or Lemon Queen- or my favorite annual vines: morning glory, hyacinth bean, or moonflower- I imagine the latter may be too invasive in this climate. I miss them!

I suppose I SHOULD embrace this new home and try some Australian varieties. They'd undoubtedly be hardier and I could acquire a new appreciation of the country by going native. I can't say, however, that I'm too keen on the odd prickly flowers of Australia. But, I guess that was the point. I could maybe LEARN to LOVE them.

Before much else happens, however, I've got to get all the grass OUT of the existing beds. Ah, the most tenacious of weeds. Why won't you grow this well in the lawn?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mt. Coot-tha



Sunday, after gaming, Kevin and I buzzed over to the other side of town so I could view the city from the Mt. Coot-tha look-out. (I've never heard anyone but Kevin SAY Coot-tha, so I'm not sure. It IS a bit funny looking. But, there's a lot of that. My favorite is "Toowong"- which I can't say or read or think about without "Fu Thanks for Everything" and images of Patrick Swayze (would that be Swayse in Australian? I think so) and Wesley Snipes in dresses. Priscilla is certainly "majestic" with its fluttering fabric trailing through the outback- but I probably enjoyed "To Wong" more. (I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who would say that.))

The asides have taken over.

Anyway, it was an overcast day. Still, we could see the CBD towering in the distance and the Brisbane River snaking through the hills.

It was a bit past 4:30 and Kevin had work to complete at the office- but we pulled over at the Botanic Gardens anyway. The guard sitting in his golf cart which was parked conspicuously in front of the mostly closed gates confirmed that the gardens closed at 5 PM. But, then went ahead to tell us how we could get out if we found ourselves on the wrong side of the locked gates in 20 minutes.

Thank you.

Really. It was a very nice garden.

And very, very, very full of lizards



I'm not sure what it is about these trees. They date back to the time of the dinosaurs. I think they must be dangerous. They are ALWAYS locked away. Spooky.

Anyway, we scurried past the pond. The bamboo. The cannas. We lingered a bit in the Japanese Garden. Then explored the one way mechanism on the exit gate.


We're pretty sure that as a team we could get in the out...but don't tell anyone.

In my next life



I'm going to be taller.

And, I'm going to audition prospective husbands with a Polaroid camera. If they can't take a picture of me where I don't look like some scrunch-faced troll scurrying across the ground to get out of the light.... that's it.

Until I got married, I wasn't overly concerned with my age. But, that's when it started. And, it really wasn't me. It was the comments that I attracted.

Entering David's Bridal shop "The mother of the bride dresses are in the rear."

My Uncle Carroll pointing out all my grey hairs and asking if I'd been through menopause yet.

The b#&*@! at the pet store asking if I had GRANDCHILDREN.

You will note, however, that I am looking pretty hip...despite the windblown condition of my hair. Can't place it? It's the bra strap. In Brissie, having straps hanging out is tres chic. Last summer I was astounded to not only see straps on shoulders but also across women's backs if the neck line was cut particularly low. I thought it was just tacky- but hey- obviously it looks pretty good on me.

This season, however, not so many straps. (Maybe I'm again passe? or, maybe it is too early in the spring?) My current peeve is being mooned by women in low riding pants. Personally, I never thought it worked for plumbers, either.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Toy



Since the weather is turning (uncomfortably) warm (mostly humid), I've been craving gazpacho. Ideally, I'd be ordering it from the Stone Oven in Cleveland Heights- along with a salmon salad sandwich. Since I don't have time to arrange for pick-up- and they don't deliver- even IN Cleveland Heights, I had to make my own.

Fortunately, I had a recipe. Pretty easy recipe, at that. All it takes is about 4 ripe tomatoes, a cucumber, a red pepper, about 1/2 a red onion and 2 cups of tomato juice.

Oh, and a blender or food processor.

So, I spent $30 to make gazpacho.

It was worth it- if only for the opportunity to learn how to use an Australian food processor: The "You'll Love Coles Food Processor Model YLCFP". I was disappointed, however, with the following.

Do not operate this product in the presence of explosive and/or flammable fumes, or use it to mix flammable materials.

Damn. Guess I'll need a blender, still.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Anniversary! Happy Halloween!



I guess it is a little late to be getting out our invitation.... but, really, how likely is it that you could have made the trip? Let alone, fix yourself a bang-up costume that wouldn't draw the attention of the Australian "homeland security" team.



The party was fine. Eight hours of horror themed games. I lost everything - tending to die early or get frozen trying to help my comrades. Ah well. It is better than real life had been for the 3 days prior.

It is really too bad that we didn't ask one of our guests to pop a photo of Kevin and me early in the afternoon- before Kevin started popping his stripe stitches. It seems a bit problematic to me to admit, but I must, his stitching (of me) held up much better than mine. I do,however, make excellent antennae!

Halloween is tomorrow- so it is time I get cracking on the jack-o-lantern. I thought it would have been ready by Sunday's party....but Sunday morning didn't go as planned. Somehow my excellent idea- get up at 5 AM and have 7 hours to prepare- didn't work out. (tick, tick, tick...damn ticks)



Happy Halloween Ghoulies!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't stop



I think I've figured out the car problem. You remember. It won't turn off.

Sunday we went to the local mega-hardware store (Bunnings) and afterward went to store our loot in the boot. (That was fun.) The floor of the trunk was covered with a large piece of cardboard. On a lark, we turned it over.

Now, I'm not sure if MJ is the patron saint of our car or the demon possessing it. But, in any case, I believe we have an answer to our problem...

[Chorus]
Keep On With The Force Don't Stop
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Keep On With The Force Don't Stop
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Keep On With The Force Don't Stop
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Keep On With The Force Don't Stop
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

It's beginning to smell like home...



This morning I planted a flat of annuals. I'm expecting a short life for them. I can only bucket water them on alternate days...and I'm not very good at that. Still, there is something so pleasing about sticking little petunias in the ground. I plant and hum the song from Captain Kangaroo..."I'm a lonely little pentunia in an onion patch, an onion patch, an onion patch..."

Anyway, Kevin noticed right away when he got home.

The scent of Versailles.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dinner Conversation



Last night.

What would be our strategy to meet the zombie apocalypse?

Kevin had thought about this.

I can't really go into detail about his plan because, you know, you MIGHT be one of the zombies and MIGHT retain some memory of our strategy.

My plan was simple- though Kevin pointed out it would work much better in the US. Shoot myself in the head.

So, I guess I'll go with Kevin's.

We agreed that we couldn't hide Zelda with us. She just doesn't understand being QUIET- least of all when there might be zombies at the door. Or, children getting out of a car. I wanted to keep her in the backyard where we could continue to feed her and water her- at least as long as we had food and water. Kevin thinks we should let her go out the front door where she'd be better able to find food on her own. You know. Without us. Just in case there is no us. I say she'd never make it. Those big dogs next door tried to eat her last week- and they weren't even hungry.

Tomorrow is my day off. Acupuncture. Possible hair cut. Buy more canned food.

And, water.

Just in case.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Red Dragon

"I'm not the sort of person who falls in and quickly out of love"

I know I said I'd never name a car again- but maybe this isn't really a name. Its just a title, like "The Smoke Mobile" (which still sits in our driveway). A name is more intimate. Something you'd croon. Something you'd cry over when it had to go to car heaven...or at least get towed out of your apartment parking lot en route to the scrap heap for $25. Anyway, this identity popped into my head yesterday. Yesterday, as we made the most important journey of our relationship (getting Zelda groomed- there's a little dog in all that fur!) and explored the function of the CD PLAYER.

"Drop the pilot, try my balloon"

The Red Dragon has started to relax with us and reveal is shortcomings. Like the engine races when idling...itching to rear end somebody. Bad Dragon. Bad. Or, like, NOT TURNING OFF!!! It has got to be a curse. Some sort of demonic possession. Our lawnmower has the SAME PROBLEM.

"And as I kissed your lips
I knew right then
I was gonna have to do it again"

On the other hand, the CD player works just fine. I only have 4 Cd's here (though we have many mp3s "in" the computer): Michelle Shocked "Short, Sharp, Shocked"; The soundtrack for "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou"; "Boogie in the Grass" a compilation of disco hits (Everybody?Anybody? remember "I love to love, but my baby just wants to dance" ?? The woman needs to wake up to the fact that she and her baby are dancing in a gay club for a REASON.) And, the tunes of the day - a best of Joan Armatrading.

"Speaking of life
You ask how, how right you are
To be feared or loved
Heed not a lie, fear not to trust coz
Whatever's for us, for us"

Wow. I love Joan Armatrading. Joan didn't ever make it big in the US- but I've always managed to find other fans: Tim at Duke, Gary in Wooster, Renee, Jeannie, and Nan in Cleveland. This one's for you!

"I am not in love, but I'm open to persuasion"



"Why do you come here and pretend to be just passing by?
When I need to see you, I need to hold you- tightly"

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What my Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Says

about me... Though in truth, I've given up peanut butter (I think it gives me headaches) in favor of Almond butter. But, undoubtedly THIS is still all true.

What Your Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich Means

Your eating style is gluttonous. If you like something, you're going back for seconds... no matter how full you are!

You don't really have a sweet tooth. If you go for dessert, you tend to go for something light.

Your taste in food tends to be quite eclectic and wide. You are an adventurous eater, and you like many types of cuisines.

You belong to a class that's all your own. You resist rules and traditions of any sort.

You are a tough person who isn't afraid to live life fully. There isn't a lot that scares you.

You are laid back and extremely easygoing. You never make a fuss, and you try to enjoy every moment.

Underwater World



I knew it would be an auspicious day when I heard my first ABBA tune in the new car. "Mama Mia. Here I go again. My. My. How can I resist you?" On my way to check on Link- my first real tick dog. And, he seemed pretty OK. Yep. This was going to be a good, good day.

Our plan was to drive North to Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast. Mooloolaba is home to "Underwater World" and Kevin and I enjoy walking through tunnels of sharks and such...PLUS Underwater World has a Giant Deep Sea Squid on display. (Hurry. Limited time only!) Yeah. Giant Squid. We are so there. Plus, it was a chance to take the new car out for a spin and get out of town.

The Underwater World was fun. We enjoyed the pool of sting rays that greet you just inside the door. They seemed very attracted to Kevin and tried flapping out of the water to reach him. I must admit- inappropriate comments WERE made- but they will not be repeated here. You'll have to make up your own.



We hurried down into the lowest level of the aquarium first for the shark walk. Sixty centimeters of Plexiglas kept hundreds of thousands of liters of salt water above our heads as we walked through the aquarium enjoying the artificial coral (painted in coral appropriate colors, we were told), the moray eel, the reef fish, the green sea turtle, the sharks and rays. We were taught how to sex sharks and rays. (Call me if you're trying to set one up on a blind date. I can help you gender select...but you'll need to verify the sexual preference of your friend before we begin.) Due to the curvature of the Plexiglas, everybody in these tanks look 30% smaller. Wow. Some of those rays looked pretty, pretty, pretty big. And, they were, in actuality, much, much bigger.




From the bottom we worked our way back upstairs. We played find the frog, briefly. We enjoyed colorful collections of real coral and real coral reef fish including the sex changers. (I knew something about these guys. At least, I knew much of what was known about these fish in 1985 when I wrote a literature review on sex changers for my "Social Behavior of Animals" course. It has been over 20 years...wonder what's new?) We studied, in honor of Christine- who recently wrote me about these fish, the lungfish that live in Queensland. (They've been introduced into the Brisbane River. Why? Why would you introduce a species into a new river?? This doesn't seem to me to be significantly different from introducing English Sparrows, or Cane Toad, or red fox (not the actor), or rabbits to a new country. Helloooo.) We waited our turn to play with the "megatooth shark" jaws. We thoroughly enjoyed the seal training show.

But, the best HAD to be the Giant Squid. Kevin was psyched - having recently familiarized himself with giant squid ways via Bond, James Bond. Giant squid. Giant squid eye. Cool. Very cool. Like frozen in a giant ice cube, cool.



It never occurred to me that I wouldn't be seeing a live squid! Why would it? Let alone that it would be folded up inside "the world's largest, man-made block of ice". (I'm not sure you've noticed: the squid's longest tentacle is folded up over its head and extends back to the right side of the ice block.)

Still it was fascinating.

But, coming from Ohio, I think they could do better. Isn't it obvious? I could set them up... Life-sized Butter Giant Squid (Giant Butter Squid?) Every year at the Ohio State Fair the Ohio Dairy Farmer's barn has butter sculpture. There is always a full sized dairy cow- complete with true-to-life milk veins. And, then a bonus. I'm thinking ...giant squid next year.

Anyway, these giant squid can be pretty giantous. (I know that is not a word. Live with it.) Up to 60 feet long! Living deep in ocean crevices. (This particular squid was living off New Zealand). They aren't rare. They aren't endangered. And, yet the first living specimen wasn't seen until 2004! Wow! Just 3 years later and I'm seeing one in ice in Mooloolaba! My life is good.



"My my Just how much I've missed you"

Underwater World was followed by EATING fish and then a walk through the surf.



"Why? Why? Why'd I ever let you go?"

Friday, October 12, 2007

Updating



Is this what happens when you date above your social sphere? or is anytime you date anyone who towers more than a foot above you. I'm good at that. It helps that I'm built for success.

But, I digress. (Note. Not digest. I haven't had the chance to eat supper. I just got home- 8 pm - and had to attend to the frog and then got sucked into blogland. What is wrong with me?)

First: We are CARRED! I'm not sure it is legal or if we've actually paid for the car, but we do have it in our driveway- or in John's driveway tonight. It has carried groceries. It has traveled to work. I have even gotten lost in it! (Not lost IN the car but whilst driving said car.) It is christened. I anticipate we might need to do something exhaust related sometime- it is pretty noisy. But, the important thing- the a/c is cool, cool, cool. As is the interior.

Second: Work. Gee. Last week was "neuro week". An ataxic cat and a wobbly, possibly seizuring dog. The cat I threw a diagnosis of toxoplasmosis at- just because it was the infectious neurological disease I knew and the dog seems to have disappeared after an exam and lab work. I was afraid she had an incurable, breed specific degenerative disease. Both really needed spinal taps but neither had one. I'm thrilled to say the cat is about 100% better now. And, I can only hope that the puppy has not been heard from because she is too. This week, however, has been a sad week. I lost two patients this week. Both were diabetic. Both had a second unidentified problem that prevented us from controlling their blood glucose. One we euthanized. The other poor girl died in the hospital awaiting surgery. Ugh. And, today. An is-it, isn't-it, no-it-isn't, yes-it-is uterine infection. (That's pyometra for those collecting scrabble words- build it on the dangling y from freeway or the mid-word a from participle or just grab that t from tantalize.) I called Rob in from his day off to help with the surgery and was a bit worried when he didn't think she had a pyo (when you are cool, you say things like "pyo" - you don't even need to be Australian.) Then, the uterus was all segmented up like she was carrying 6 week old puppies... but there were no fetuses to be felt through the uterine wall and PLENTY of smelly pus gushing out when the excised uterus was incised. So, we saved her life today. That one feels pretty good.

And, next- What else. Giant squid.

Stay tuned.

My heart goes out tonight to Pam and Ken. And, Sammy and Olive. And, Rusty and Whiskey. And, Zara.

A

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Reptile tales

Spring. Maybe that's what's happening.

We had our first Australian snake sighting last week. Not more than 2 blocks from home. Between us and the train station. A real, live snake. Fortunately, it was being supervised by two feline guardians. They had it staked out on the middle of the sidewalk (footpath). It wasn't going anywhere- at least not with its head!

A jogger had stopped us while we were on our evening walk with Zelda to caution us that there was a snake up ahead. You know how that would work for us. We made a bee-line! Overall, none of us was overly impressed. It WAS over a foot long- but only as big around as a first grader's fat pencil. Zelda couldn't be bothered to even look.

When we left it, it still had its head AND its tail.

Which is more than I can say for the lizard that was brought into the clinic. Some sort of "dragon" according to the wildlife rescue group. It was as long as as big around as my forearm- except it had only a bloody stump where its tail had been.

Unsightly.

Before anyone could really help it, it expired.

Unlike the gecko that I tried to free on Friday evening.

There's been this big fat healthy looking gecko in the bedroom for weeks. I see him almost nightly sitting on the window screen and he serranades me in the morning. Just a few friendly chirps. So, I thought I'd help him out and release him to the wilds of 51 Hibiscus Circuit. You know. The OTHER side of the window.

Unfortunately, my smooth collander-over-the-gecko move missed everything but its tail. The gecko ran and the tail dropped to the floor- where it writhed for a good 5 minutes. Wow. Talk about disinhibition!

But, never fear. The gecko- fat and stubby now- was on the window Sat evening. We eyed each other.

And, he didn't sing this morning.

Car saga

Finding a new, used car isn't much fun even when it is easy. Something about spending a lot of money for something which has the capacity to become much more expensive without warning.

Our first thought was we'd find a car for less than $3000. Remember my list? Kevin added "automatic transmission" and "possesses a road worthy certificate". Well, those cut down the list of possibles on CARSALES.COM considerably! We did, however, print out 15 or so possibles and sat down at the table on Sunday morning. It shouldn't have surprised us that the factor that actually decided which ones we'd test drive (and when) was WHO ANSWERED THEIR PHONE. We borrowed a car from gaming friends (thank you Jane and Hubertus) and crisscrossed the city twice seeing 3 cars: a Holden (too big!), a Mitsubishi (too soft!- I don't really know what that means, either- but we knew right away it wasn't our car), and a Toyota (just right?)

Not.

Yes, the car HAS A SWITCH that says air conditioning- but that doesn't mean it HAS air conditioning despite what the seller advertises. We were also concerned about the kilometerage (what a mouthful!)...over 393,000!!! The engine had been replaced at some point in the past and was very quiet. We seriously considered this. We asked if we could take it to our mechanic for a check- but our request was declined because the seller lacked insurance on the car.

I re-organized the search routine. I cut our search area back to 10 km and searched only by known small cars. Two hits...

Another Toyota and a Honda.

I trained myself to Indooroopilly on Friday to see the Toyota. It has been driven for the past 3 years by a "uni" student. The tires were good. It was pretty cute with a sporty back end and those quaint sunken circular dials strewn across the dash. And, the a/c worked! I was ready to bite- despite the lack of power steering- when her dad told me that she only has to add oil to it when she fills the tank with petrol Just once a week.

Saturday morning we saw the Honda. It is very sexy. We feel like speed obsessed 18 year olds. Red and Black and racing stripes and fire and

air conditioning, power steering, automatic transmission, newish tires and only 123,000 km (74,000 miles).

However, as of Sat morning it lacked the RWC. We hope that is rectified soon and we'll be car-ed up again!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Our new house

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I like it.

We live only 5 min from the train station (Carseldine) which is tres convenient since our trusty automobile has acquired a new super identity: The Smoke mobile. We leave it in the driveway most of the time now- so it can be free to save damsels in distress and protect the world for democracy, clean air, and cheap petrol prices. I know. We are too generous.

Anyway, I like the house. It is cozy. The bathroom is peaceful in green and blue. Small, but peaceful. Plus, we can get a nice breeze through the house. And, we have AIR CONDITIONING!!

I also have my own space and my own computer. Funny thing, though. I can't see the entirety of my photos on my blog with this monitor. I have to run next door to see that they are all there!

We've done up our "lounge" in our own typical fashion- we call it ready to move out of. It is significantly larger than the last one- and I'm sure we can fit in a whole dormitory full of guests comfortably. But, we'll all have to share the bath and shower.

The lounge- for a short time- did have our chair in it. It looked kind of lonely. And, my mother thought that Zelda would appreciate having "her chair" in the kitchen to which she's been banished while we're gone.

We bought some new things for the house, too. Maybe that adds to its charm. We bought a new gaming table. (You can see it in the game room.) Big. Heavy. $20!! We also got a new clock. See if you can pick it out.

One thing you'll notice. The view. We can't see you. You can't see us. Every window is covered by an overgrown shrub. Oh, and note the cool weeds we've got in our yard.

I'm slow getting photos made- so this entry is popping in late.

Work. It can really get in the way, sometimes.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oct 1st

My God. Tomorrow is the Queen's Birthday in Western Australia! And me without a present or card...at least there is time to find a cake!

Happy day to all my favorite Queens.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cars cars cars cars cars cars cars



Kevin tells me that tomorrow we will buy a new car. Well, not at NEW car- but a new very-old-car. I've got only 2 items on my wish list. OK. Maybe three.
1. Power steering. This one is actually a little negotiable.
2. Air conditioning. MUCH LESS negotiable.
3. No noxious fumes. TOTALLY NOT negotiable.

I haven't told our old car. He's still waiting patiently in our driveway under the mistaken delusion that we might get so desperate that we'll drive it again. I hate to be harsh - but I think even Kevin has recogniz(s)ed that "Wow. Is THAT a bad idea."

See, last weekend (Sat) he actually drove all the way to Indooroopilly (I have no idea- something like "In- dru-pilly"). The original plan was then to drive further to Ipswich...and back home in the wee hours of the night. All of this madness was, in fact, inspired by his passion for boardgames.

Love. It drives us to poor decisions- and Indooroopilly.

Yes. He made it TO Indooroopilly. About half-way he woke from his lust-coma to find that there was smoke coming from EVERYWHERE - enough to possibly obscure the clear vision of OTHER drivers. Like the poor sod who was behind him. But, so as not to lose face with the Gentlemen Gamers of Verona he kept on.

Keep on keeping on.

He did, however, take the train to Ipswich and back home.

Meaning that on Sunday I got to ride home with him in the smoke-mobile.

You get a lot of attention when your car looks like a carbon-emitting Pig-Pen. People honk. They point (various fingers). They roll down their windows (JUST A LITTLE) to holler "Your car is on fire".

We made it home with still something like 54% lung capacity....and NO tickets.

So.

I haven't told the smoke-mobile. But, it isn't like that. I haven't had an unnatural affection for a vehicle of the automobile persuasion since I was in my teens/twenties. Fritz, the Wonder Car!

He broke my heart. And, there's never ever been another true love.