Wednesday, May 31, 2006


As well as cleaning up after 25 years of sewing and crafting, I also had the task of dusting and re-arranging Mum's books with the option of throwing out any I didn't think she'd read again except her collection of Barbara Cartland Regency Romances. Then she thought I'd better keep the other BC's just in case. I hope when I get old, I'll be rich enough to have a photographer back light and air brush my wrinkles as the Dame has had done here. It must have been those hundreds of vitamins she took each day that gave her the strength to keep her eyes open with the weight of those false eyelashes she wore to the day she died. I've always had a hankering for the ultramarines around her neck as well.
After reading the second part of her autobiography, my first thought was about how much she could blow her own trumpet but on further thought, she was also an 'I can do' and she let nothing stand in her way. She was both a snob and egalitarian but not racist. Rumour has it that she would have snared Earl Mountbatten had he not been blown away. She would have been invited to the Palace more often but rumour again has it that the Queen did not like to mix kisses and exchange germs with anyone but family and Dame B was a kisser.

I found her books in the late 1970's after Mum had her heart attack. She was battling the depression that is part and parcel of that illness and found it hard to concentrate on reading until I brought home a second hand copy of "A Hazard of Hearts" which she loved and read straight through. I was sent off to the book exchange and as luck sometimes happens, a lady had just brought in a huge cardboard box of Barbara's books. I bought every one and any other I could find. Her modern day romances were still a cut above Mills and Boon, interesting for her take on people but she came into her own with the historical romances, especially the Regency period. Tastes change and young women wanted more so the 'Bodice Ripper' sexplot books became the next best thing. Mum read a couple by Laurie McBaine but they didn't interest her.

Mum just wanted the pure romance. There were other authors of Regency Romances, Joan Aiken Hodge, Patricia Ormsby and the earlier queen of Regency, Georgette Heyer with her wonderful sharp and witty exchanges. But none of them seemed to have the delicate touch that Babs brought to her particular style of writing. I find it difficult to put into words how different it was. When she described a dress of tulle and sequins of a certain colour, it formed in your mind, well perhaps that was just Mum and me because of our interest in fabric and lace.

Her good writing only lasted maybe 10 years, after that they were little more than short stories in cardboard covers. I remember her indignation when a library refused her latest offering as not worthy of shelf space. I read it and they were right, total trash, not even worthy to be toilet paper. The good ones were good and well researched. Mum would often read a story then become interested in the history and follow it up. I bought a book on Regency fashions and she became as familiar with the fabrics and trims as she was with 20th C fabrics.

Dame Barbara always dictated her books to a secretary. She would recline comfortably on a couch with the inevitable Pekinese, full make-up plus eye lashes. She pinched ideas from everyone, she had a least 7 versions, in different eras, of "The Sheik". She used Georgette Heyer and portraits of society people she'd known in the 1920's and constantly re-set her own plots but she became repetitious. So much so that I used to think of her spinning a giant wheel, throwing the Peke on and wherever it landed making that the plot du jour.

Lord Lew Grade begain making the better books into lavishly costumed movies, the first being my mother's favourite, "A Hazard of Hearts". We couldn't wait for it to be released only to be disappointed in the heroine. Instead of the gentle but gutsy ringletted fair maid, there was Helena Bonham Carter. She spoke the lines like an automaton instead of acting and clumped through the movie like a milkman's carthorse. She was no match for the glorious Diana Rigg chewing up the scenery as the evil mother. In a cameo part as the father was the still handsome Stewart Granger who stole every scene he was in. The perfect Cartland hero was Marcus Gilbert who also starred in the next film.

"A Ghost in Monte Carlo" had the perfect heroine in Lisette Anthony, red-gold hair and beautiful eyes. The villians chewing up the scenery this time were Sarah Miles and the marvellous Oliver Reed. Three more movies were made before Lord Grade's death and his plans for a series were dropped. He'd have made a fortune for the studio had he continued with these instead of filming the turkey "Raising the Titanic" which almost sent him bankrupt.

I still curl up on a Saturday night with these videos when I need a comfort check. There have been times when I've stayed awake all night listening to Mum struggling to breathe and my stay awake books are always Cartlands. I was never interested in Barbara Taylor Bradford or Danielle Steele and my first loyalty is to Georgette Heyer but only one of her books was made into a movie, "The Reluctant Widow" starring Jean Kent and Guy Rolfe. Faithful to the book, the ABC often shows it on their late night movies and it's stood the test of time. But I have to hand it to the Dame whose art was in conjuring up an age that existed but didn't.

Ps. Mum is good. No chemo, no radiotherapy only pills for an unspecified time.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


New Britain region, PNG: Earthquake 6.2 magnitude

Java, Indonesia: 6.3 magnitude

In Australia, this month alone, we have had 15 earthquakes ranging in magnitude 2.1 to 3 in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

In America, on June 2, the US Military is planning to detonate a bomb in the Nevada Desert.

Its size........700 tonnes.

The reason........none given.

It will be interesting to see if Mother Nature replies with a bigger bang of her own.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Okay, I've changed my mind about going to the moon again. I'm back to going down and under the sea after watching the programme on the Tudor warship "Mary Rose" on SBS last night.
So many artifacts coming up from the silt and being preserved and restored are extending our knowledge of history that we should keep up underwater exploration.

To have a man replicate a musical instrument that has only been seen as an illustration and then be able to play it as it would have been heard at Henry Tudor's Court is living history.
I lovedthe fact that the last of the legendary English Long Bows have been found and preserved. That the arrows were found with them and analysis of the glue used for binding the flight and arrow head confirmed it was made with copper. The French had accused the English of using poisoned arrows and as copper causes massive infection in a wound then deliberately or inadvertently, the English were using a form of biological warfare.

The diving team now think they have found the bow castle which was the fighting platform of the ship buried deep in the silt and plan further dive seasons. The bow castle is in the photo above.

In the Mediterranean there has been a new development for marine archaeology. It's a robot called SeaBED, it's proper title is the autonomous underwater vehicle or AUV. SeaBED collected photos, sonograms and spectroscopic analyses that mapped an ancient shipwreck in a few days that would have taken scuba divers nearly seven years.

It uses a small mass spectroscope which allows non-intrusive chemical analysis of artefacts on the sea bed and a high resolution digital camera. SeaBED can go to 3000 metres to explore wrecks which is good news for archaeology. Depth means minimal turbulence, low sedimentation and no treasure hunters now or in the past.

Like the 'Mary Rose', the Mediterranean shipwrecks are pushing the boundaries of history. Phoenician ships have been dated to around 1200BC which alters the dating of the poet Homer's life. He was placed in the 8th Century BC because nobody thought the Phoenician sailors he mentions had sailed extensively until then.


It is a grey day and it's cold but it's a happy day. I just didn't remember until I walked through a pile of canine excrement that ended up under the mandarin tree because I didn't shut the gate and idiots didn't have their stupid dog on a leash.

It was made worse because the leg went again half way back from the shop and I was limping. I changed into mangy old slippers and raided the tree for breakfast. I limped back inside, dragging leg, slippers and about 2 kgs of said excrement. I had so much on the slipper I had to throw them both out, well the right one would have been okay but I'm not a one legged sailor. I then had to back track through the entire house, put mandarins in kitchen, turn on computer in study, move chair closer to fire, in other words, crap on the move. (sounds like Howard overseas)

I was thinking to myself (not talking, that would be crazy) the Blight used to do this all the time and I would have to clean it up and then it hit me. TODAY, the 28th of May, 6 glorious years ago he fled to the welcoming arms of his Blonde, Miss Ugly Universe. How could I have forgotten the wonderful sounds of silence. The absence of the neverending snoring. The slamming of the doors, the banging of the gates, the crashing of the cutlery because he could never find a spoon. He even made a noise putting his teeth in.

This calls for another sip of his vintage port, you remember the bottle I hid in the roof. I don't want to over-indulge I want it to last another 6 years.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Pithy title, couldn't think of anything else.
Saw my Ma-in-law for the first time in two months and she's suddenly very old. She was so pleased to see me that it was worth nearly cracking a fetlock to get there. Now I know why they say to warm up the muscles before walking, I thought walking did that. At least I didn't go down in front of the primary school or the whole lot would have poured out for show and tell. Limp, limp down to the bus stop to watch it sail past, limp to the next stop to keep the muscle working and the freezing teen in freezing hipster pants wanted to know where I bought my wrap because it looked so warm. Yea! taste in a teen but then she was blue with the cold.

My favourite part of moving is sitting, especially in a heated train. I read the ads everywhere but one today was a peach. Picture a huge building painted with clouds, a bow and arrows, a cute child with wings leaning on a mountain of toilet rolls and the heading...I LOVE YOUR BUM. This ad is so wrong on so many levels that if I started to analyze it, I'd have to brand pervert on my own forehead.

Anyway to more serious things. I'm very worried for Brendan Nelson. How many months since the lad took over Defence? I watched him today being terribly ministerial but I was distracted by the bags, uh no, suitcases under his eyes and the worst haircut I've seen in years. I bet Tony Abbott is on his knees thanking his God that he didn't get that portfolio after all.

I've finally watched the Insight programme on same-sex marriage all the way through. It was hard because I kept wanting to strangle Dreadnought but then I've spent years wanting to strangle DN. My suggestion to SBS is to have a follow up show but with people taken straight from the street, not Oxford St or out the front of Pell's Palace but ordinary people. Ask them about same-sex marriage and listen to the silence. I've given up writing to politicians about this issue because they don't reply and you're going to regret that Simon when you ask me to help you come election time. I've found it was better to talk to straight people about it and if 4 or 5 finally get that it is an issue then it's easier than banging my head on a poli's door.

This is the problem, straight people don't know there's a problem. Gays, lesbians, friends of them, activists, old bats like me who think equality is for all, Hillsong, chronic christians, Howard, Pell, all know about it but people in the street don't know and don't care. Until I tell them about Howard's "marriage is between a man and a woman" speech and then it's "What's it got to do with him?"

Now there's talk of the Federal Government overturning the ACT's new civil union law. Senator Guy Barnett wants to lobby for a federal law "preventing any State and Territory from enacting legislation that gives same sex relationships an equivalent or similar level of public recognition or legal status of marriage." To use an expression from Tony Abbott, what a snivelling grub. The world is not going to end because two people of the same sex stand up before their families and friends and declare their love and commitment to each other for life.

Rant over, now I'm going to soak my fetlock.

UPDATE: Gayerasmus always says it better.

Friday, May 26, 2006


It seems ages since I went shopping but it's only two weeks and the last time I wandered around with a mobile phone in my bra because mum was being operated on.

I had to walk out on her yesterday. It's the only way to stop the manipulating and I've been through it before so I'm not guilty. She just gives one more try then gets going when she knows the game's up. Our family doctor gave her heart, blood pressure and the cut line a clean bill of health so she can't use any of that.

Tuesday night I crashed. I crawled home, went to bed because I was cold and that should have warned me. When I got up to feed the cat and saw little dancing lights without any chemical assistance, I knew a mother- induced migraine had hit. It was a three pill headache and it's been a long time since I've had one of those. The cat was happy, I forgot to turn the fire off and the light and the television.

So I had a whole day to wander round Westfield. Boooooring! Not a decent male in sight to perve on. Food was expensive. The coffee was crap as usual even though I try different places every time. But joy, my lovely hand beaded wrap was found. I'm in two minds about it though, it was nice to get it back but what was so wrong with it that no-one wanted to run off with it?

I bought mumsy a new phone. I'm going to regret it. She presses a button and it's on speaker phone so she can talk forever without her arm getting tired holding a receiver. That has got to be bad. I've been watching the junk mail for a bargain but desktop phones are on the way out apparently. With her it's essential that we have at least one phone that cannot be moved (or put in a box) because she leaves them everywhere even the letterbox. We know she was supposed to carry it when she went outside in case she fell down but she was supposed to bring it back as well.

I bought a toothbrush, Chinese, 95 cents.

Update: Tony Abbott called Kelvin Thompson a snivelling grub. Well done Big Ears.

Update: John Howard has become Australia's most travelled leader clocking up 391 days overseas. There goes my theory on how unsafe air travel is.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


The moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. Simulations performed by researchers at Southwest Research Institute TM (SwRI) and the University of California Santa Cruz show that a single impact by a Mars-sized object in the late stages of Earth/ formation account for an iron-depleted Moon and the masses and angular momentum of the Earth-Moon system.

The "Giant Impact" theory has been know and accepted by scientists for more than a decade because it proves an explanation for the low density of the moon. About 50 million years after the birth of the solar system, a planet of the size of Mars collided with the proto-earth. At this time the Earth was in the latter stages of its formation and had about 90% of the mass it has today. Due to the enormous mass involved the collision must have been very energetic.
Most of the mass of the earth probably melted and major portions would have evaporated.
The debris from the collision formed a ring around the earth, out of which the moon was born.
Subsequently, the moon moved further away from the earth and slowed down the rotation of the earth. The processes are still on-going. You can read the rest of this at

So that is why earth rocks from the asteroid bombardment 3.8 billion years ago will still be found on the Moon and why Mars rocks can be found on Earth from the same asteroid bombardment.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I have fallen into the advertising trap. I am shamed beyond belief. I bought a new state of the mouth toothbrush. It not only cleans my teeth but it massages the gums stimulating the circulation and making my whole mouth a glistening cave of good dental health.

I decided to indulge after I ran out of my 95c 'made by loving hands' chinese toothbrushes that have bristles so hard that wearing them down to the nub takes months.

This super dooper colgate has bristles inside rubber prongs and is a pretty colour. I don't know what I expected but it certainly wasn't like putting a live octopus in my mouth. The rubber prongs have a mind of their own, getting in the way of tongue and teeth and they move like tentacles and they don't massage and the bristles don't reach to clean. Sod advertising.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I'm always going on about how we should spend more money on exploring the deep oceans instead of planning on another trip to the moon but now I might change my mind. It has to do with impact events and the effect they've had on the Earth. There could be tonnes of earth rock on the moon which could contain fossils or organic signals of microbial activity at the start of life on this planet.
The evidence of life on Earth as long ago as 3.8 billion years is based on rock chemistry rather than fossils. Finding sedimentary rocks of the kind that could contain fossils older than 3.5 billion years is a virtually impossible task considering plate tectonics. They still could be found as geologists discovered Ophiolites, the remnants of the ancient seafloor crust which had escaped the tectonic re-cycling.
The moon's surface is littered with rocks many of which could be from Earth and older than found here. Asteroid impacts fling huge quantities of material into space.

The K/T (Cretaceous/Tertiary) event which is generally thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs has left an impact layer spread all over the world. While most material fell back to Earth, some would have been propelled into space even landing on Mars but the closest landing would have been the moon.

In 2001, John Armstrong joined with L. Wells and G. Gonzalez to calculate how much material would reach the moon after a large impact. They calculated that the impact of a body, 100 metres in diameter would deposit about 120 kilograms of Earth rock on each squae kilometres of the lunar surface.

Between 4.2 and 3.8 billion years ago, in a heavy bombardment of a solar system wide event, Earth was struck by thousands of asteroids that were K/T sized or bigger. So rocks landing on the moon and containing evidence of the beginning of life on Earth would still be lying around. As life on Mars and Venus might have been going around this stage, there may be proof of this as well.

It's worth a trip to answer a rocketship load of questions about our origins. As long as we keep the military in any country from having anything to do with it.

Monday, May 22, 2006


From a US study - Gossiping wins us friends and boosts our self-confidence and the cattier it is, the better.
The researchers claim shared negative attitudes towards others can "promote closeness and friendship".
But, why is there always a 'but', the researchers had to admit that gossip had its drawbacks and that "badmouthing others can hurt feelings, create conflicts and stir up a cauldron of of trouble".

They didn't say how much that research cost or how long it took. An afternoon at any school mothers club would have told them the same thing.

And now one for the really silly file. Heinz is introducing ready made baked beans on toast. They have actually frozen two slices of bread with a pocket of baked beans inside which only needs to be heated in a toaster. Apparently it's done in such a way that the beans won't fall out.
At the risk of being called misogynistic, it had to be thought up by men for the use of men.

Stop making things easy, teach the idiots to cook.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Older men? I'm glad I can see Henry and I'm keeping the pics that show him in all his glory to myself. I'm glad he's got green eyes. I love the glad game.


Remember Pollyanna, the missionary's kid who wanted a doll for Christmas and got a pair of crutches instead? Her loving father taught her the glad game, that is to find something to be glad about in everything. In this case, to be glad she didn't need the crutches so they could be sent to someone who did need them. Pollyanna liked this and played the game all her life, I'd have hit father in the crotch with the crutch.

I bring this up because a couple of nasty things have happened to make me play the glad game.
At Larvatus Prodeo, a little man called Civitas didn't like the fact that I had a pension. I am, according to him, living a lifestyle I can't afford, riding on the backs of the taxpayers of Australia. This is strange because I believe he is an American. Well, am I glad I'm not him.

In another comment thread I have been called a whingeing gold digging skank. I am so glad about that. I looked up 'skank' at Wiki and have immediately revised my slang. Nothing ages one so as not being up to date with the slang du jour.

Whingeing - all the time. Always complaining about a war I didn't vote for, politicians' greed, the weather, the tattslotto numbers are fixed, football is boring, Bill Muhlenberg is still breathing. Yep all the time.

Gold digger - A slang term for women who date wealthier (often older) men as a pretense for spending their money. As anyone who reads this blog knows, older men do not figure in my life. Henry is not an older man nor are any of the other gorgeous creatures I post here. I don't visit Boy Box for the intellectual stimulation.

Skank - a pejorative slang term referring to one who is undesirable as a result of unacceptable behaviour. (the Bear is always threatening to throw me off his blog for frivolity). Most often this behaviour relates to drug use, sexual practices (I don't have to practice), and/or personal hygiene and style. No drugs, I'm on welfare so can't afford them. Personal hygiene, wtf, I shower every night and go to bed drenched in perfume but don't tell Civitas, I'm on welfare. Style, Audrey Hepburn meets Sophie Tucker which is the age of most of my clothes but I do have delusions of grandeur. I make my own tiaras and the cardboard in my shoes are matching colours.

Continuing...Originally associated with a bad smell and/or scummy or dirty surface, it has come to refer to someone who is either or both physically repugnant for their filth and morally or socially repugnant for their behaviour and demeanor, most often sexually. Leaving out the sex bit, this would apply to most politicians, our Prime Miniature, the Preznit, Osama bin lid, Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Big Brother 06, Pope Benny, Prince Chuck & Fk (thanks B) Paris Hilton (I had to put a token blonde in).

Prostitutes are often associated with the term though in reference to a usually non-whoring person. In the United States, the term is used as a synonym for slut and/or whore. Not in this life but I possibly could have been a demi-mondaine in another, not for the money though, diamonds are still a girl's best friend.

So there we are, I glad I'm up to date and will stop calling skanks, slags. I just love the glad game.

Friday, May 19, 2006


So it's not a week yet but it feels like it.

The Four Corners and Insight programmes have people talking about gays and lesbians. Good.

My mother is from Krypton. She's indestructable.

My hair is falling out. It's falling out now when the stress is gone. Life's a mystery.

I fell off the vegetarian wagon last night. I apologize to every little hoof'd thing that was on the pizza I ate. I loved it, I enjoyed every mouthful but I'm back on the veg again. It's just that I was so tired and hungry that I would have eaten the Pope's underpants.

I haven't seen my garden in the daylight for about a month so surprise me. The mandarin tree is loaded with golden goodies. They're huge and they're sweet. Decision time, eat them or mandarin jam or mandarin marmalade or mandarin sauce for ice-cream. Life's hard.

John Howard is not good for America. Every time he visits, there's a disaster. Did you see how far the stock market dropped today?

Our soldiers are the best in the world. They do their job even if they have to buy their own equipment to do it better. They have managed to not get a lot of themselves killed. So why do we have such incompetents at the top? If they can't remember to get a cd out of a computer how can they run an army?

I'm going to see the Da Vinci Code, l'll like the movie, hate Tom Hanks but it could have been Tom Cruise.

I have to go, I've missed Big Brother and Smallville's on. Life's a Tom Wellings joy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


You would think after the last few days that I would be sick of blood and stitches and stuff but I love watching CSI. Although Ch 9 is cutting its own throat by repeats because I don't worry if I miss an episode, I'll catch it again on the 2nd or 3rd repeat.

I know it's not as easy as they make out to do all these snazzy computer thingies but I would love to do something with this photograph. It was the last photo taken by my son and to be able to look into his daughters' eyes, to be able to see what it was that he was doing to make them look at him in such wonder.

What I wouldn't give for a CSI diploma.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Finally caught up on my Sunday reading and the article on cubby houses for kids brought a cartload of memories from years back. The article reflected on the way kids today don't play outside so no cubbyhouses they have built for themselves.

We didn't build one in our backyard. We simply buried Dad's Morris Minor up to the mudguards and turned the boys loose. It also doubled as the rabbit's hutch, he lived in and under the boot while the neighbourhood gang crammed in the front and back seats.

It was an education on how parents influence their child's behaviour. Bossy mother's kid was all, 'I'll do the driving and don't get anything not on that shopping list." The kid with the speedster father couldn't wait to grab the steering wheel and go vroom vroom and he didn't change when he did get his licence. He even brought his own horn to sound.

Their imagination ran riot and that old car became everything including a stagecoach when they harnessed three labradors to the front. They rigged up the garden hose on the roof and played submarines. Slingshots armed with rabbit pellets were shot at the cats when the car was on African Safari.

It never seemed to bother Harry Houdini, the rabbit, who lived up to his name and was always AWOL. Rabbit proof fences were not the Blight's forte. I know the kids did a lot more than this but I burned all my diaries when they started to read. Who knew the neighbours were going to turn into upwardly mobile yuppies and move away. The dirt I had in those little!

Back to cubbyhouses. It wasn't only in the backyard but in the house they used their imagination. I didn't care about neat and tidy like the rest of the Stepford Wives in the street so it was always kid central here. I don't know how many times I had to re-hang the curtains or nearly strangle myself in make-believe ship's rigging of bed sheets. I'd open the bedroom door and throw paper bags of food in then go away for a peaceful read.

It's nice to look back and think how much fun it was. Even when the budding architect removed the ceiling in the wardrobe to see what was above it. I thought the possums were loud but try four kids galloping over the roof. The good thing is local government has dropped the regulations about cubbyhouses and we no longer have to go through a permit situation.

When I get rich, my cubbyhouse will be a glass gazebo with wifi connection and a bar fridge full of Dom Perignon.


The woman must have vampire blood to have healed as quickly as she has. No external stitches just a row of steri strips and two holes where the drainage tubes came out. Remember the drama about the tubes and how I had to have lessons etc etc. All for nowt.

When I got home I went round and put all the radios on the station she had on in the hospital. It was 1940's music and she loved it. After I plugged in the one in the bedroom she told me to change it because it reminded her of the hospital. Fine, change everyone of the bloody things back.

Arranged all the tablets she normally takes in their proper place next to the water jug. Did I have to put them there they smelled like the hospital. Okay, that was it, lost it. She told the nurses she'd have a shower when she got home so she wouldn't get too chilled leaving. "You smell like the hospital!" roars patient even-tempered loving daughter who is wondering how many years they give for matricide. I couldn't do it, I might be banged up for life with someone exactly like her. I missed my chance anyway when she discovered the black spider in the bedclothes which I never put there. I'm too kind to animals but she had enough strength to bash it to death.

The Brick Outhouse, taking his cue from me, refused to give her ice-cream until she ate all her food. She was glad to be home but nervous too. We see the specialist on Wednesday who will tell us exactly what was taken out and then she might settle back into her routine of irritating the crap out of me. Can anyone tell me if Ebay sells arachnids?

Monday, May 15, 2006


There is no such thing as a life cut short
Only a life that has been lived for the perfect length of time
Euan James
18.4.1971 -10.8.1995

Saturday, May 13, 2006


About that restful day I was supposed to have, scrap it. I did crash until midday when my sister rang, just a bit upset. There aren't enough home nurses for the breast cancer patients so when they knew she was a nurse, they assumed that she would care for the drainage tubes so they could send Mum home early. Sis was on the spot and had to say yes but she can't do it. She's nursing in a geriatric sub-acute ward and it's full on hard yakka. So I'm out of bed and half way to the hospital like Madame DeFarge looking for heads to roll. When it was explained just what was involved and that Mum sitting in a bed just to have tubes drained was a waste of hospital space that someone else could need then I volunteered to learn the procedure and have sis supervise the first couple of times. They gave me a video to watch and a book to take home for study and it's not a problem. I'll go back tomorrow and watch the nurse do the draining and the old cockroach can come home Monday, that's MONDAY not Sunday because I'm religious and I don't work on the Sabbath, I read the papers and eat chocolate. I'm very religious about my chocolate.

I wasn't being impolite when I referred to her as the old cockroach, she'd out live a cockroach. After my talk with the nurses, I walked in to find her sitting up, no drip in, good colour and, for her, coherent. She's already been up, walking to the toilet and giving a lesson on colostomies to a trainee and complaining about the food. Golly goshness, they expect her to eat fresh vegetables, what a trial.

The tumour was much bigger than expected even with all the scans and tests that were done. There were, for a better word, tentacles growing across her breastbone which were scraped off but nothing in the right breast. They're now talking some radiotherapy but we'll jump that hurdle when we come to it. There'll be a word with the doctor who wants her back at the hospital two days after she comes home, just to look at the drain tubes. That will be 5 minutes for him and about 2 hours for us getting Mum there and back. He can visit or send a nurse or if he's game he can talk to me.

Just in case Civitus is lurking. This surrogate nursing doesn't mean my DSP is a fraud. I'll be living on pain killers, being tired and aching in every bone for the time it takes for her to need me. It's a thank you for everything my sister did for my father that I couldn't. And think how much money I'm saving the system, I'm almost paying for my own pension.

Friday, May 12, 2006


And I'll say it again, the only things left standing after a nuclear attack will be cockroaches, John Howard and me Mother.

I'm just back from the hospital and I can report her mouth is in working order. "Fix my oxygen tube. Adjust the pillow, my neck hurts. I'm thirsty when can I have water?" If she ever has to have another op it will be a mouthectomy.

No intensive care unit, not even a night in the high dependency unit. They did lie though, she's in pain. Not as much as this morning. Somewhere in the world, I hope there's a doctor having four injections of radioactive dye in his scrotum, with a woman standing by, saying it will only sting a little.

I walked around Westfield doing the rest of her messages carrying a mobile phone and worrying about not hearing it that I didn't notice that at some stage my wrap had fallen off. I made that myself with fringing and passementerie and beads and as my sister said whoever picked it up is selling it on Ebay as a tent embassy. I've reported it lost, perhaps it will stagger home covered in dirt and grass like Lassie.

Tomorrow I am not getting out of bed. I have five New Scientists to read and big red apples to eat. And if that bloody woman rings me at 7.30 in the morning I swear I'll disconnect her.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


That's right tomorrow morning we carry (literally) Mumsy to the hospital. She has been off the Voltaren for nearly two weeks and the rheumatoid arthritis has galloped. The knee joints, hands, neck and feet are red and swollen but she's still walking up and down the hall to keep some movement. She would be bedridden without the morphine. The bad news is that it will take nearly two weeks for the medication to work when she is back on it.

She took it quite well when I said I couldn't stay there at night. Going back to sleep in one's childhood bedroom might be some other's dream but I need my woolly cosy bed. Her forgetfulness is catching, last night I stapled a cheque to the envelope and threw out the doctor's bill and that was after spending an hour searching for the cheque book. It was in my elaborate filing system which is a plastic gift bag from the $2 shop.

Now just a few little things before I go.

*takes off ladylike demeanor and puts to one side* Fuck off Civitas. I never know how to reply to people like you so I go away and think about it and I have. My contribution to society over the years is 100 per cent more than you will ever give.

Lucy Tartan, I admire you and think it's disgraceful that you do not receive the monetary rewards you deserve. The fact that you keep teaching and enjoy it says heaps. I wish I had your brain.

RH, I was going to dance nekid in the moonlight and cast a spell on you for being cruel to brownies. Now I must thank you for your defence although I think you were secretly pleased to find a victim worthy of your vitriol.

Now I'm going to take some painkillers and go to bed ready for whatever tomorrow brings.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I have written about some of my interests, oceanography, chocolate, pretty men so I thought it was about time to bring on the impact craters. I'll start with one that's been tamed.

This is the Steinheim crater with the village of Sontheim. Lucky broadbanders can GoogleEarth it at Latitude N48deg41' Longitude E10deg4'.
It's diameter is 3.8 kilometres and has an approximate age of 15 million years. It's a complex crater with the wooded area being the central uplift.
Complex craters are formed when gravity causes the initially steep crater walls to collapse downward and inward. The central peak forms as the deep crater floor rebounds from the compressional shock of impact. Think of a stone dropped from height into a bowl of water.
The peak consists of material that has been intensely fractured, shows faulting and shocked metapmorphism which is the irreversible chemical of physical changes in rocks by shock waves.

Now here is one in the wild. Bosumtwi is located 30 kilometres south of Kumasi in Ghana. Latitude N6deg30' Longitude W1deg25' and is 10.5 kilometres in diameter and approx 1.03 million years old. The centre of the crater is completely filled by Lake Bosumtwi and has a preserved well-defined central uplift structure near the northwest-central part of the lake.
This is one of the youngest impact craters on earth and the heat in the crater would have taken 10-20,000 years to dissipate.

Climate researchers have drilled into the 250 metres of mud at the bottom of the lake to take samples of deposits recording a million years of the African climate going back through several ice ages. The lake is ideal for this as it's shielded from stong winds and no rivers flow through to stir up the sediments, the layers of which go undisturbed to the very bottom of the crater.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


I have watched the TV news, looked at papers on line and still can't find anything about the doctors going back to work. On Monday I'll have to call and at least get some idea how long the wait for the op will be. It's very much a 'Catch 22'. Mum has to move to keep the joints from locking but the longer she goes without anti-inflammatories, the harder it is for her to walk which means more intensive physio after the op. We'll forget the brain, that's just not functioning on four cylinders at all.

She tried to cook tea last night, steak and kidney pie but nearly blew up the house trying to light the gas. This was at 5 o'clock which is the limit of her endurance. It took me 5 minutes to make dumplings, throw them in the pot with the S&K so tea was ready in 20 minutes. I would say it was a success when my sister even ate a bowl of it. The brickouthouse hid the remaining dumplings and ate them with cheese sauce (which sounds revolting) when he came back from work. I haven't made dumplings in years so I was pleased I hadn't lost the touch and it was a recipe given to me by an old lady when I started cooking for my father. My sister remembers whenever I was cooking them, he would roar the minute she appeared, 'Don't lift the bloody lid',
when usually that's exactly what she'd just done. She'd hide until he did the honours and pronounced them 'perfect'.

I have found the bed in the sewing room. Everything is stacked on its shelf and the boxes are labelled and stacked. The sewing machine is out of the lounge and tucked in the corner as is the overlocker. The only thing left in the lounge is her work table and embroidery box so she can pick up where she left off. I don't think there is a cardboard box any where that hasn't been checked even finding one that had fallen behind the couch. That went home with me as it contained pale pink frosted glass baubles I'd given her for Christmas at least four years ago, even I had forgotten them. Only one more thing to attend to and that is the window seat in the bedroom. It is jam packed with ribbons, all colours and sizes and unbelievably jumbled. When I go through that she can sit in bed and tell me what to do which I will ignore. I can do a really good ignore these days.

Sometimes it was a walk down memory lane. I found dress patterns in a bottom drawer which she said to throw away but my interest in fashion wouldn't let me do that. Besides, there was my wedding dress which looked way better on Jean Shrimpton than it did on me. The first dress I made at school which the old bat in charge gave me 5 marks out of 100 for. So it was 4 months late, we were poor and it took that long to pay off the lay-by. She didn't think a black dress was appropriate for my age and especially not fine wool. I wore that dress until it literally fell to pieces. It also taught me to read a pattern before I bought it, the damn thing was cut all in one and joined with gussets under the arms. I have never made anything with a gusset since.

Mum appreciated the fact that I went through everything before it was thrown out. Eight boxes of bits and bobs went to two friends. I found my father's opal ended ball point pen which disappeared years ago and a letter written to him, by Mum, on a visit to Sydney in 1957. In fact, I surprised at how many little pieces of his have surfaced, almost as though he saying, 'I'm still here for you'. Although he probably wouldn't have cared for the swearing I did when I caught her putting them in a plastic bag ready to go into a little box. I allowed her the box and ditched the bag. We had enough trouble looking for the soap the other day, found inside a little bag, inside a big bag.

Tomorrow is going to be a terrible day. Rain, hail, sleet and freezing wind. It's craft market day and I will be home in bed. Luvverly.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Loaded the old chook up and off to have a heart scan and chest X-ray. The heart scan table is too high and since she's been off the anti-inflammatories for a week, it was hard work hauling her on to it. She's game, didn't swear once. Five minutes for the X-ray and back home to the bad news.

The surgery has been cancelled because of a shortage of skilled personnel. They are trying to work out who's going to have surgery next week but as I explained, if she's too long without the tablets then she'll really be unable to move. The trouble is that a mother with kids is going to be put ahead of an old lady when it comes to priority.

At least all the tests are finished and she can stay at home and practice driving me crazy. She's getting very good at it. Hopefully I can sneak back to blogging if I can find where the fragments of my mind are hiding.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I have no idea what he had stuck up his shirt or how he rode a trail bike with it but he was happy. This was the year he jumped out of a plane and remembered the parachute but forgot to land on his size 12 feet. The backside was bruised for a week.

He became a father again, another beautiful girl.

He had a part-time job tending the boat for the dive club. He loved to climb the hill above Cheviot Beach and watch the ocean. He was thinking about learning to dive. He'd need it for his marine biology.

It was also the year his Grandfather died. It was late when we called and the babies were sleeping so we told him to come in the morning. He came anyway, without our knowing. He sat on his bike, at the top of the street, until the hearse left. He followed it all the way to the funeral home because he didn't want his 'Grumpy' to go alone.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I was hoping that it was Sunday when I woke up this morning because I stay home on Sunday and read the papers and eat chocolate.

It was Monday and it was raining and I had to go to Mother's.

I went outside and picked a lemon from the tree and the branch broke. I ended up halfway across the lawn flat on my back. The grass was wet and it was drizzling.

I'm really not going to like this week.

If I remember, I said this week was for keeping her mind focused. Scrap that.

I now know I'm not very good with two things, babies and little old ladies who are going in for surgery and are in pain and don't know what day it is.

I will begin to self-mutilate if I have to stay more than three nights.

I'm really not going to like this entire month.