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...

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


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.


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.


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?)


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

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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.