Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I should be in bed and sound asleep. I shouldn't be sitting in front of a screen. I've tried to sleep but my mind won't slow down.

It's been a long day. It will be a long week. It appears that my mother has breast cancer but we won't know for sure what stage until the core biopsy on Friday. She couldn't see the ultrasound but I could and the tumour is quite large.
The lovely girl taking the X-rays asked her how long had she known something was wrong. "Oh probably last July." The girl adds five months to that. I knew last Friday. Why didn't she say something? She hoped it would go away if she didn't think about it.

Now she has to think about it.

My sister and I have already discussed plans for looking after her. We're realistic about the things we have to do. It sounds as though we're being premature but having gone through life and death situations with mum before, we've found that going through worst case scenarios and being prepared is easier.

Mum's okay, she's not even thinking about Friday. She has a craft market to go to on Sunday. So while she had an exhausted sleep after the hospital, I finished off the ribbon roses she wanted.

As long as she can pick up a needle, she'll keep fighting and I'll keep making roses.


The explorer in his favourite oilskin coat. The way I always pictured him on some cliff top in bush, jungle or Antarctica. His camera to hand and tripod strapped to his back.

He climbed up and down cliffs, stood under waterfalls and waded miles up creekbeds. Always in search of that perfect photograph.

Monday, March 27, 2006


These are more images of diatoms showing their intricate shells. They were supposed to go with my post on nanotechnology but blogger wouldn't load them. I assume it was because one was a gif and one a bitmap, not a clue what that means but I did learn to convert them to jpeg, don't know what that means either. How I converted them is now tattooed on my left one so I can't forget it.

I watched the last five minutes of the Games last night and it was the best five minutes of the lot. John Farnham's song was the right song to end and the fireworks on the roof tops of the city were spectacular. Next time can we skip everything and just go to the end.

Unfortunately the footy season now revs up.


Usually I like Sunday mornings with the paper, peace and quiet and croissants but I had the thing in shreds with barely suppressed rage. Apart from the fact that news other than stupid dropping to the ground athletes didn't start until page 210, the paper was full of noxious items and noxious photos, like Blair and Howard cosying up. Please someone make sure they have the seats with the fireworks underneath.

Noxious item number one. Our starving school kids. At least 30 percent of students are going without food at school. Boys apparently are too busy playing sport but girls don't want to be seen eating because of this myth that being thin is beautiful. They keep full by drinking water which is one thing I've noticed when I travel, every teen seems to carry a water bottle.

According to dietitian, Alison Walsh, this behaviour could trigger eating disorders or lead to obesity, with students bingeing on junk food after school.
Adolescent psychologist Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg wants the State Government to introduce healthy sit-down lunches.
Nutritionist Dr. Rosemary Stanton said schools should have access to dietitians and psychologists.

All worthy ideas but how will they overcome peer pressure? Who is going to counteract the brainwashing of TV commercials, stick thin actresses and trash magazines that offer 57 varities of diet every week all with the message that a rounded figure is bad, malnutrition rocks. Added to this is the rise of cigarette smoking in teens because that old myth is still alive and kicking, that smoking keeps you thin.

Noxious item number two. Six times as many people are booking in for weight-reducing surgery as were admitted five years ago. This is for laparoscopic bariatric surgery which is having a silicone band fitted below the oesophagus where it joins the stomach, creating a tiny pouch. If you eat too much, you throw up. The meals have to be minced or creamed and I've known women who have liquified chocolate bars to get a sweet fix. This is one of the problems of this surgery, it doesn't change the life style just the amount of food consumed. If the surgery is reversed for any reason, the weight will gallop back on.
The Victorian Government has earmarked $800,000 this financial year for more lap-band surgery to reduce waiting lists and offset the spiralling costs of obesity on the health system.

The last item isn't quite so noxious but it ties in with the above. A new clinic has opened in Melbourne to treat sufferers from anorexia nervosa and bulimia. This treatment is revolutionary in that it concentrates on the physical characteristics of the disorders. The doctors believe that the disorders are not psychological which is at odds with most experts.

Sufferers do not recover from eating disorders, they go into remission. At the moment it's not covered by the major health funds. If the Health Minister is so worried about women's health then what about looking at putting treatments for these problems on medicare.

Claire Vickery, founder and chief executive officer of the Butterfly Foundation, a support and education group, said that Australia has fantastic therapies but people can't afford them.
Eating disorders are becoming more and more of a problem not only with females but more males are admitting to having a problem. They can and do die from eating disorders.

I would like the guilt removed from all of these disorders. I would like people to stop pointing fingers and pushing blame when they should be showing support. I'd like TV shows, diets and airbrushed photos of impossibly skinny models banned from magazines, but fat chance of that
ever happening.

Eating disorder helpline: 9885 0318 1300 550 236

Sunday, March 26, 2006


After the post about diatoms I remembered an article about them and nanotechnology so I went looking through the files. That was a lost afternoon of browsing through articles I had forgotten about. Now I have a list of googles to see if any of them have updates which means more lost hours as I go through NASA images.

I found the article and it was harder to understand than I thought but after a few readings I had it straight. The problem is that even with so many Startrek episodes under my belt I still have trouble getting my mind around nanotechnology. It's the minuteness of the nano structures and the fact that powering these are more minute engines. To create microscopic devices to exact specifications, a scientist has to push single atoms around using an atomic force microscope but now nanotechnololgists are looking at the silica shells of diatoms.

Diatoms are single cell algae that have beautiful and elaborate glass shells. Looking at the photograph, you can see the variety of shapes the shells come in so instead of trying to build nano parts, scientists are working out how to convert the fragile glassy shells into tough ceramic.
Diatoms also create an array of intermediate structures as their shells mature. They have hollow hexagons, discs and barrell hoops, all suitable for micro machine components.

A ceramic chemist in America has already invented one process to change diatom shells atom by atom from glass into other substances. Compounds such as titanium oxide which changes its electrical resistance when exposed to different gases or calcium phosphate (bones) which could be used in drug-delivery devices or shield implanted cells from the immune system. Other scientists are looking at the pores in the shells (see photo) to use for growing nano crystals but even these pores are still too big. See what I mean about trying to get the mind around the size of nano machines.

Even with the diversity of the diatom shells, researchers are looking at how to make the shells to human specifications by various methods including gene transfer but other scientists aren't so sure.
As one diatomist admits that what diatoms do in the wild and what they can be forced to do in an industrial vat may not be the same thing.

I just think they're beautiful. It looks like this blog might get a bit geeky over the next few weeks so I'd better go trawling the net to find some pretty men to break up the nerdiness.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


I'm giving you plenty of notice to hop a plane to Libya to view the total solar eclipse of 29th of March. The path of the total solar eclipse will cut across southern and eastern Libya. The point of greatest eclipse is near the northern tip of the Tebesti where totality will be 4 minutes 6.7 seconds.

Libya is expecting thousands of eclipse watchers to head for the desert. The government has tried to manage the locations to limit damage to the desert. Unfortunately one of the locations is the place pictured below, and extinct volcano, Wau Namus as seen from the space shuttle. has beautiful images and information about this volcano.

I love this area of Libya and Egypt but it's on my list of 'Travelnots'. I'm quite content reading about the expeditions, geographical features including lovely impact craters and the history in the comfort of my chair.

Friday, March 24, 2006


The Three Gorges Dam in China is already threatening fisheries in the East China Sea. The Dam on the the Yangtze River is the largest in the world and was partially filled for the first time in June, 2003. Within two months, a drop in the amount of fresh water and sediment reaching the sea caused a massive decline in the phytoplankton that forms the base of the food chain. Every creature that eats plankton is food for something else. Phyto plankton need fresh water in the summer flood season but that's when farmers need the most water for irrigation and while the Chinese government has promised not to decrease the total annual flow, the water may not be released at the right time.

By August, 2003, the High Productivity Zone at the mouth of the Yangtze had shrunk by about 86 per cent. The sediment load had decreased by about 55 per cent since before the reservoir was filled. The ratio of silicates to nitrates also dropped and caused a shift from a healthy eco system of silicaceous diatoms

to flagellates which can kill fish by depleting oxygen in the water or secreting toxins. The annual catch of fish could be reduced by one million tonnes. The problem is going to increase with the building of half a dozen more dams.

In India water is also a problem with the depletion of the underground aquifers. More water is being pumped out faster than it can be replaced.
In Northern Gujarat, fifty years ago, the wells went down 10 metres now the wells have to be sunk to 400 metres. One of the problems in India is retaining the huge amounts of water that come with the monsoon rains.

In Gujarat, in the village of Rajasmadhiya, they have redesigned the drainage system to slow the monsoon run-off and collect it in specially dug ponds. The water passes from one pond to the next in a slow cascade then percolates through the soil to refill underground reserves and wells.
This is an old tradition where shallow mud-walled reservoirs in valley bottoms captured the monsoon rains. The Indians called them tanka, a word that's passed into English as tank.

Rainwater harvesting is now a movement across India, not only in the countryside but the cities. It is a communal effort, it can't be done by one person but dry countries across the world are experimenting with similar schemes.

We have to start looking at water conservation now in this country. When one cotton T-shirt requires 7000 litres of water and one quarter-pounder hamburger requires 11,000 litres of water to be produced then the water planet is doing down the drain.
Looking backwards as well as forward isn't a bad idea.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


He was working as a technical assistant in the microbiological section of a laboratory and he got married.
It was a bush setting with an ornamental lake, in the hills.
In keeping with the wedding tradition of our family, there was the usual moment of lunacy.
The ornamental lake was overfull of water and wild ducks. The boy, ever mindful of the bush, said no confetti so the guests threw coloured rice.
Before you could say 'free lunch' the ducks were at the ceremony.
The Groom loved it, the Bride was not so impressed and the guests got used to side-stepping the quackers.

Monday, March 20, 2006


The Education Department plans a conference to help primary and secondary teachers and principal "manage sexual diversity" at school.

Gay and Lesbian Rights lobby spokesman David Scamell said schools should talk about homosexuality, tolerance and respect in the classroom.

Deakin University's Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, an expert in diversity in health and education said the Education Department conference was about celebrating diversity of families in schools.

Centre for Adolescent Health director Prof. Susan Sawyer said it was "entirely appropriate" that homosexuality be discussed in schools.

Adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said at least 10 per cent of high school students were attracted to the same sex.

But the 'Head in the Sand' Australian Family Association believes issues of sexuality have no place in schools. National secetary Gabrielle Walsh asked: "Do we really want to fill our children's heads with what is the exception rather than the norm?"

Well I think we do. I agree with David Scamell that schools have a responsibility to ensure that students have a right to a safe and supportive environment. That means all students including same-sex attracted. No beatings, bullying or comments on a student's sexuality to be tolerated.

The Gay Curmudgeon had this posting.

Jamie Raskin is a professor of Constitutional Law at the American University's Washington College of Law and he testified on March1, 2006 before the Maryland State Senate opposing a proposed anti-gay amendment that would stamp discrimination into that state's Constitution.

Senator Nancy Jacobs (R) posed this queston at the end of his testimony:

"Mr. Raskin, my Bible says that marriage shall occur only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

To which he succinctly responded:

"Senator, when you took you oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

Thank you Gay Curmudgeon and 'Bravo' to Prof. Raskin.

My absolutely last word about that event that has taken over the city.
Only Melbourne would spend 50 million dollars to prove a footballer could walk on water.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Everywhere else it's St. Patrick's Day but not in Goblin land. According to Goblin lore today is Slitheringtide. Every year since the fifth century, on this day, daring goblins try to smuggle snakes back into Ireland by secreting them on their person in the most absurd places imaginable.

I wonder what they would have done with a flying tram. I didn't watch the crappingwealth games opening ceremony (lower case intentional) because I had something better to do like shoving bamboo slivers under my fingernails.

I am in a bad mood. The blog ate my previous post so I have to do it again which is bad because I've been barred from computer use again. You can see how obedient I am. Everything hurts anyway so I might as well be here because I'm doomed, doomed triple doomed. My mother has bought herself a wheelchair so that I can take her out and she won't hurt trying to walk. She can come to my place and we can have coffee at that nice shop I'm always raving about. She can have a shopping spree at Westfield. She can take a 'walk' in the park. She will be sitting, I will be pushing. According to her logic, dodgy at any time, It will be good for my back because I'll have something to hold on to so I won't fall down. Mummy Dearest, do the words 'dead weight' mean anything to you? Her heart's in the right place though, she bought a good one for me to use after she's gone. In other words, look after my inheritance if not my mother.

Further to the bad mood department. How long do we have to put up with Howard's lies about everything. Please, God, Intelligent Designer, Alien invaders, anybody up there, zap the rodent. I was going to say 'where's the Devil when you need him' but he's already in Canberra and loving it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I did promise to start an archive of my craft so here are the gifts I've made for my sister over the last few years. Her Christmas presents for this year are on track for Mother's Day.

This is the jewellery box covered in mushroom pink damask. It's lined inside with compartments for rings, large pieces and small earrings. The roses are hand rolled bias cut satin and gold organza in a circle of guipure lace with a hand stitched border of pearls on the lid and base.

I matched it with a tall hat box made of the same damask with larger roses.

The next year I made a dozen coathangers of gold and ivory lame with the same hand rolled roses and pearls.
Sorry if the photography is not the best but I haven't gone digital yet. I will have to re-do the chandelier ornament as I had the flash on which made it too sparkly but the image in the mirror came out well as did the idiot holding the camera. We'll try that one again.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Where do I start with this post. It will have to be with the wonderful, helpful girlfriends I picked as bridesmaids. The ones who hogged all the mirrors in the house so that I ended up in the outside toilet with the only free mirror. I had long since lost control and let them have anything they wanted. In the toilet just about summed up the entire day.

I still have my wedding dress and always will because my mum made it so I intend to pass it down the generations. It's ivory linen with over embroidery in a paisley pattern and I itch to put pearls and crystals on it now. Maybe I'll keep that for a project when I end up in the old tarts' home.

Half way to the church, Dad had a panic attack because he's forgotten his braces and was sure his pants would fall down. When we got to the church, frantic relatives waved us on for another trip round the block. The Groom and his posse of mindless er, sorry minders, hadn't arrived. We passed three nuns from the local Catholic school who waved and nodded. Second time around they started to look worried. Third time around and they had the rosary beads out at speed.

Wedding music, Dad still muttering about his pants and four smashed out of their tiny minds louts in dinner suits holding each other up. I nearly walked out then but Dad said he'd already paid for the beer. Don't remember saying 'I do'. The wedding guests said it was the longest kiss in history. It wasn't a kiss, he lost his balance fell on me and I was holding him up with my lips.
Ever the multi-tasker, I managed to sign the register and land a swinging kick on the 'Best Man's' shin. The Groom managed to stagger upright through the photographs by wrapping his hand in my veil. The 'Best Man' limped a lot.

The reception started with sherry and canapes while more photos were taken with the Groom still wrapped in a tulle shroud. Considering the amount of sherry they drank we shouldn't have worried about decanters, a tanker with a hose through the window would have been better.
We had no formal seating except for the Bridal table. I have never seen a more frenzied attack on food outside of a David Attenborough shark documentary. I defended the Wedding cake valiantly. The speeches were short and slurred except for the 'Best Man' who continued on despite numerous threats on his life until my 5 foot nothing Ma-in-law walloped him with her handbag.

The beer ran out, quickly. An emergency dash across the railway tracks to the pub was organised. Only one man was lost on this mercy mission. My sister's boyfriend was retrieved from the barb wire running along the train track during the next beer run. It was wonderful to see the men pull together whenever the cry went up "beer's getting low".

I hid the telegrams, I refused a bridal waltz and people kept taking the cake knife out of my hand. The Groom fell down a flight of stairs but no-one missed him (he lived). The jazz band was loud. Everyone danced and fell down a lot. They also slid in spilt beer and there were more guests under tables at one stage than on the dance floor.

The Groom was not only still pissed but concussed. The 'Best Man' was sound asleep in the middle of the dance floor and didn't seem to mind being danced on. I still can't swear to it but I'm positive my mother and m-i-l kicked him several times while pretending to help him out of the way. I'm sorry we left so early, we missed the fist fights and that was just the women.
Reading this back, I can tell you the words are not conveying the chaos that night was. If anyone has seen the play and the film 'Dimboola' then you'll have some small idea.

The honeymoon was craptivating. Nothing like getting to the love nest by the sea and having to make the bed. It probably accounts for my life-long aversion to housework. The Groom snored but I resisted the compulsion to smother him. I have no photos of the honeymoon but I still have the rock I picked up on the beach. It's a big rock, I liked it then and I still like it. It reminds me of the happy time, him passed out on the beach and the tide coming in.

I tell you the praying mantis has it right. She bites the male's head off, lets him mate then he dies. Bloody ripper.


This is an African Starling not very much like the crummy mob we get in Oz backyards. Usually when you get an invitation to a slide night the inner groans are almost audible but not when the guys are scientists, adventurers, great photographers, adorable and they belong to me.

They travelled through Africa's National Parks up to the Victoria Falls and down to the Cape of Good Hope. Their photographs of native animals ran from excellent to brilliant and it helps when they describe the size of them in relation to themselves or the car they were in.

Looking at a hippo on TV doesn't give you any idea how big it is until it's described as the size of a volkswagon. Even the birds come in large, extra large and extra extra large. And they all eat each other of course. We've all seen those wildlife programmes where the animals stand around and the tick birds clean up the annoying insects but even this has a dark side. The symbiotic relationship is fine as it goes but the birds have a habit of pecking a little too sharply into the hide and drinking the blood so those red-becks aren't coloured, it's blood. Every animal eats every other animal. Like watching Australian politics.

The cowards didn't take up my challenge of bungee jumping off the rail bridge at the Victoria Falls and even though it was the dry season, the falls were still spectacular. I think even I could have taken a halfway decent photo. Now I'm starting to sound boring but you had to be there.

I was lucky with my taxi home. I'm used to waiting for half an hour or so especially on a Saturday night but my driver said he had 66 jobs in the Mulgrave/Ferntree Gully/Upwey area and he was the only taxi available. He took me because he lives in my area and could go home.
That really is disgraceful. They want people to stay off the roads if they've been drinking but how are we supposed to get home. I don't know whether it was because of the Commonwealth Games or not but it's still not good enough. Thanks to the driver who not only helped me down the steep drive that rivals the worst descent on Everest but played the best of Queen all the way home, very loudly. I didn't feel at all guilty at leaving the other 65 people stranded, they were probably already drunk and feeling no pain. (sorry if that's not true but first foot in the cab and all that)

And yes the cat was waiting at the gate doing its best imitation of an abandoned and starving pet. I swear he knows when the car rounds the corner and belts out there to make me feel bad.
Tomorrow is the full moon and what would have been my wedding anniversary so I'm going to treat you to the story of my wedding day. A day so gruesome that even if I got Alzheimer's it would be the last memory to go.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


As part of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, EqualLove is hosting a debate on Gay Marriage.

Date: Sunday, 12 March 2006
Time: 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Venue: ACMI Cinema spaces, Federation Square
Cost: $11 Concession, $14 waged (includes film screening and debate)

The film is a documentary "Pursuit of Equality" about San Francisco's marriage Licence debacle.

The debate is hosted by Addam Stobbs from JOY FM and the panelists include:

activist Rodney Croome AO
barrister Kris Walker from the Melburne Law School
gay Catholic Michael Kelly
feminist Alison Thorne
MCV Editor Troy Gurr
anarchist Tallace Bisset

It should be a great afternoon and I hoped to be there but I'm off out carousing tonight, a previous engagement which should do the back in again for another week.



This generates electrons from a heated filament at low energy and directs them to....


Where microwave energy in the Linear Accelerator increases the kinetic energy of the electrons to almost the speed of light.


Where the electron energies are further increased by about a factor of 10 by microwave energy.


Once the electrons reach their target energy they're transferred to the outer storage ring. The electrons are accelerated to their final energy and circulate for many hours confined to the circular orbit by a series of bending magnets, separated by straight sections. In one hour, they travel over one billion kilometres.


As the electrons are deflected through the magnetic field created by the bending magnets, they give off electromagnetic radiation so that at each bending magnet, a beam of synchrotron light is produced.


The dust-free areas at the end of the beamline where scientists set their experiments, using infrared, ultraviolet and X-ray light emitted by the speeding electrons.

The Synchrotron is, in effect, a giant microscope tens of millions of times more powerful than a conventional microscope.

Current research at Monash University's Centre for Biospectroscopy is using synchrotrons around the world for looking at individual cells in blood disorders, including Malaria and Sickle Cell disease. Identifying individual pre-cancerous cells in cervical cancer. Imaging micro-alga to measure the concentration of protein, silica and carbohydrates as the single cells respond to environmental stress.

This only scatches the surface of what a synchrotron can do. 80% of all new drugs are made with the help of a synchrotron and I haven't even mentioned the other science disciplines that use it. The Monash Synchrotron is to be working by 2007 but Australia could use another in Queensland and Western Australia.

So next time Monash has an open day, go and have a look, ask questions and take your sons and science loving daughters.

I expect to see you there as well, Link.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


This is my winner. Elegant, feminine, boobs that don't come round the corner 5 minutes before she does and upswept hair. It looks a bit on the red side so I'm a bit biased there and 'Dark Angel' was one of my favourite shows. Old style glamour. Yes, I can see myself in this, it's the kind of frock that could accommodate a full bodied well matured redhead. (Any smart comments will be deleted)

My runner-up. I love a black dress. I love pockets in dresses. I remember dear old Dame Zara saying that fat ladies should always have pockets to put their hands in, it slims the silhouette down. Hah, another urban myth bites the dust. Back to this number, it's filled out with flesh instead of bones and another upswept hairdo. I can't stand long hair hanging down in rats tails.
The earrings could have been a little more showy but an elegant package. Another adaptable frock for me. (First commenter dies)

Now my favourite part is when my sister gives me all the gossip rags and I get to see how they looked staggering home at 5 in the morning which is the way I usually look every day, all day.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I was going to post something here about the Academy Awards, specifically the frocks, mostly hideous and unwearable. That was before I fell out of bed this morning, looked at the body of Godzilla in the mirror which was topped by a mop of hair I'd stolen from Sideshow Bob sometime during the night. (memo to self: don't wash hair and blow dry it at night without a safety net) I thought after that I'd best leave the stone throwing to others. I'm probably on Asio's list already for slagging off at Jeanette's spangled chaff bag last week.

I will say that Taffeta is not the most forgiving of fabrics to wear or sit down in and in case men still don't think women can pee standing up, have another look at some of those dresses. Not that anyone was looking at Dolly Parton's dress, more like what it almost covered. I love the way she sends herself up and love her songs but it's about time for a little reduction in the chest department before she has to have wheels fitted. Damn, I wasn't going to rant.

I have been finding out about the seedy underbelly of the blogosphere, i.e. the blog stoush.
I can't believe that a commenter would go to a blog just for the sake of not only having an argument but to insult the blog owner.

I have a commenter who lives in America and we are such complete opposites on everything I don't think we could agree on the time of day. I read his blog, shake my head and say only in America. He probably comes here, shakes his head and says only a woman would say that. For some reason I haven't been able to access his comments although I did this morning but I would never abuse his blog right to say whatever he likes. I know his views so I can stay away, nobody is forcing me to read them.

It's the same in Australia, if I don't like what is said, I can stay away but I did think there was a certain blog etiquette in force where vicious comments on personalities were not permitted or encouraged. Moderately insulting comments in a humourous vein seem to be okay, aren't they G-G? I've certainly left my share of those around cyberspace. Nastiness isn't just confined to left versus right either, there have been some vicious ones directed at female bloggers.

The whole point of a blog is the freedom to speak one's mind even if the mind is a little fried around the edge. Good manners shouldn't be thrown overboard (couldn't resist) in the guise of anonimity. Now I'm going back to 'Go Fug Yourself' to mentally rip a few more dresses to shreds.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I walked three kms yesterday with a walking stick and one stop in the park so I deserve something pretty like the watermelon tourmaline crystals in the pendent above. I love tourmalines. The name comes from the sinhalese word 'toramalli' meaning high or hard rocks.
They should be set in an open claw setting because the gem has a negative charge at one end and a positive charge at the other.

This slice of watermelon tourmaline is from the Himalaya Mine in California and shows why it's called watermelon. I'm greedy I'll have both.

He is also a little gem. Slightly polished, a little rough around the edges but the eyes, it's always the eyes. I'm not greedy here, one of him will do.

I would have put up a picture of my mum for her birthday but she threatened me with a visit to see it. She was 76 yesterday and her identical twin came for the day. The little 2 year old from next door came in to give her Margie a birthday cake, took one look at the twins and dropped the cake. Priceless.

Anyone who thinks genetics has nothing to do with fat people has never seen our family in one room. Wall to wall bazooms and bums.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


The only good thing about being forced to lie around in bed is the amount of books I read.  The pain made it hard to sleep so I would read until I nodded off for a few hours, waking up with my face marking my page.  I basically read old favourites and found quite a few that I no longer thought were as good as I remembered.  One of them was “To the Hilt” by Dick Francis and in one chapter I underlined a few sentences that struck me as relevant to my life at this time.

I didn’t think of blogging about them, I just copied them into my written journal but a comment made on a post last week changed my mind.
The commenter was astounded that I was a grandmother, thinking that I was late thirtyish or so.
Mind you, a young grandmother, I married early, son also married early so no shawls and lavender yet.

The narrator in this book was an artist and the woman he was speaking about was a feisty Scottish lady of uncertain age.

“………..I thought how much the outward appearance of age could colour one’s expectation of a person’s character.”

“………..I strongly sensed a singular individual powerful entity that might have intensified with time, not faded.  We were dealing with that inner woman, and should not forget it.”

“……….Persistance of the spirit inside the transient flesh”

“……….While the outer shell aged, the inner spirit might not.”

Before I started my blog, I commented at a few places and was always careful to not reveal gender or age because of that first line, especially as those first comments were made at the blogs of much younger writers.  

I was careful because I have been on the receiving end of another prejudice, the “she’s fat, she must be stupid” so I wasn’t keen to have “she’s old, what’s she doing here commenting”.  Old, fat and stupid was a bit too much for this sensitive soul.

To take the narrator’s words though, I am aware that inside I am a powerful entity and my spirit has persisted through many traumas, both physically and mentally.  I have earned my age.  I should value the experience that has been crammed into my age.  I am also aware that society values the appearance of youth a lot more than the experience of age.

The outer shell does age, although I must thank Barista for saying that I had worn well, but my inner spirit is far from old.  The inner spirit keeps the outer shell going, the inner spirit that is fuelled by humour and a few drams of vitriol.  My inner woman really has intensified with time.  I have left behind the friends whose inner spirits have worn as much as their outer shells and I have no regrets.  I have become the wise woman of a tribe of one and I intend to keep going with this “singular individual powerful entity”.

The inner spirit still likes pretty men and chocolate, I’m not giving them up either.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Before I start on the news, a big Happy Birthday for my ex Mother-in-Law who is 92 today. That's not being sarky either, I think she's great and she likes me better than the new D-I-L.
She's a lady who had a good brain but married in an age where the husband was deferred to and that's a damn shame.

Speaking of husbands. I watched the news with JHo going off to his $1000 a head din-dins but couldn't he have sprung for a new dress for Jeanette. I mean a burlap bag with a few sequins might be okay for Fountaingate on a Friday night but he could have loaned her one of his gaudy garbs he keeps picking up at his 'heads of gov.' meetings.

Today was the first time out for the dodgy spine. The X-rays showed a slight seismic slip in the region of the 4th and 5th vertebra but no bulging disc. A bit of residual nerve damage down the leg which might heal itself and be careful and don't fall over. So today, and this really hurts, I had to resort to the oldies motorised shopping bus that runs around Westfield and I couldn't even ride on the back and pretend it was a Harley Davidson because the step was too high. I had to ride in the front and pretend I was the fat controller.

I could have left it for one more day but I'm glad I didn't. Andrew Bolt's going to be there tomorrow at a book signing and I wouldn't like to get in the way of his fans. HaHaHaHa. Still I would have liked to sneak around to see if anyone actually turned up or bought the book.

Safeway was fun as usual, the stock pixies had totally re-arranged the shelves again. This adds another km or two to the sore back and puts me off food. This cat is going to have to start putting in some crawling time to make up for the amount of money his food is costing. I'm standing in front of a giant wall of cat necessities with another cat controlled female and we are having an indepth discussion, not of world events, but which cat biscuits should we get for an ageing feline. We both looked at each other at one stage until I said the next step is discussing huggies for women who have bladder control issues. We decided we'd much rather be talking about drinking Champagne on Hamilton Island and went our separate ways. I ended up buying the bikkies for controlling hairballs in geriatric moggies. It cost a lot. In fact, his half of the food bill is twice mine.

The one thing I refused to buy is Vaalia Yogurt. I don't mind the stupid woolly goat in the ad but I hate that song. I love the bit at the end where they throw the stick off the mountain top for the goat to fetch but I would have shown the goat leaping 600 feet straight down and landing in a tub (small) of Vaalia. Stupid earworm of a song. Victory though, I walked past the donuts, didn't quite make it past the rasberry danish.

The post office made me buy Commonwealth Games stamps when I wanted flowers. I hate shopping days.


I'm going to have to stop giving blog posts away as comments. Over at Armagnac'd there have been plenty of comments about this saying although he hasn't put up the last line.

If you love something
Set it free,
If it comes back,
It is yours,
If it doesn't,
It never was.
I'm familiar with it because it's framed and sits with photos of my granddaughters. I seem to be the only commenter that didn't equate the saying with a lover.
I have an indifferent relationship with my D-I-L, in fact, I wouldn't care if she never crossed my path again. The last time I saw my girls was December, 2004 but I did speak to them at Christmas. D-I-L has re-married and has another gorgeous little girl who my two adore.
People ask why I don't get legal advice about access visits but I think they've been through enough in their young lives without that.
This brings me back to that saying. In spite of how much I would like the situation to be different, I have had to set them free. I was there for them when it mattered and I'll be here if they want to come back but the love is in the letting go.
I suppose it's a difference in the life stage, being a mother and a grandmother I automatically think of children instead of a lover. I think King Solomon had it right.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


This yummy concoction was made and photographed by Chika, the author of shewhoeats.blogspot. Chika's in Australia at the moment so a big welcome to you and your cooking. This is Strawberry Tiramisu and is from a post she did about ripe strawberries.

I must be the only blogger in the world who can click next blog and get a food writer. It's my comfort blog. Her last post from Oz had a recipe for chocolate swirl cheesecake and I swear I put on 2kgs just looking at it. That's okay because I sweated off 2kgs having nightmares about the images Queerpenguin's been putting up lately. Ewwww!

Don't mind me, I'll just sit here a while and dribble over my keyboard. I love Tiramisu and with strawberries, Heaven on a plate. The only thing better would be using Henry as the plate.
That reminds me, I haven't posted a pic of Henry lately and I love to share. Dressed or undressed is the question, better be dressed, this is a family blog. Although if I could photoshop I could put the Strawberry Tiramisu on his nakedness and be satisfied on all levels. Damn my ineptitude with all things technical.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


The year he found out about 'Catch 22'. He was studying Part 1 of an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Resource Management. The catch was that to do the second part of the Diploma he had to have a job with the Dept. of lands and Conservation. To get a job there he had to have experience and he was always too young. So he grew a beard to look older.
The best part of this year was the two weeks working at PowellTown with the Forestry Officer. In the middle of Winter, he was marking wild life corridors, checking logging of Mountain Ash and conducting a lst year regeneration survey in Mountain Ash regrowth. Despite all the hard work 'Catch 22' applied.


I practically gave away an entire blog post commenting on the biggest loser at LP. I gave it another 10 minutes again tonight and that's about all I can take without rushing out and mugging someone for a chocolate bar.

There is something wrong with this show and I've been trying to get my mind around it for the past two days. My sister loves the show but then she loves Big Brother. She says she likes to watch the interaction between the people. All I can see is ugly but not the package just what is inside.

What is it about these people? Why were they chosen, apart from qualifying as morbidly obese?
They've talked about why they want to lose weight and self- esteem issues but how can low self-esteem equate with exposing yourself to a national television audience who are not watching just to see how much weight is lost but who has the weakest will power?

The show is on at a time when children are still watching. How many biggest loser taunts are going to be yelled at the fat kids at school next day? How many are going to be voted out of the playing group in a mini version of this show? I am really pissed off about this especially since I still can't put my finger on why.

I'm not uncomfortable with my size, I see it in glorious technicolour in the mirror every morning. I would make a very good board game, down the wrinkles, up the operation scars. Perhaps I'm comfortable with it because it's never going to be exposed to the critical gaze of men again in my lifetime.

I'm glad I'm not young and faced with the barrage of skinny tarts looking at me from every magazine. I do mean tarts in the old fashioned meaning of the word, now I'm really showing my age but tits and arse do not a lady make. (so neither does swearing but I'm old I can get away with it)

This show would not inspire me to lose weight, in fact it wouldn't inspire me to anything other than a sprint to the fridge.