Saturday, December 29, 2007


Phytoplankton off the Coast of Argentina.

Iridescent shades of peacock blue and emerald green decorated the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina on December 24, 2007.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image the same day.

In this image, the colors spread out toward the south, like an inverted feather fan. Though hundreds of kilometers in length, these bright bands of color were formed by miniscule objects—tiny surface-dwelling ocean plants known as phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton thrive in the ocean waters off the Argentine coast, thanks to the waters’ cool temperature and richness of nutrients. In this area, the Malvinas (Falkland) Current sweeps northward along the continental shelf, bringing with it cold water from the Southern Ocean. The action of the current sweeping along the edge of the shelf pulls nutrients up from the ocean floor. These nutrients serve as a natural fertilizer that promotes phytoplankton growth.

I love these satellite photos of phytoplankton blooms. They're the basis of the food chain in a healthy ocean.


The Recipe For Coppertop

3 parts Drive
2 parts Giddiness
1 part Energy

Splash of Tease

Sip slowly on the beach


Your Christmas is Most Like: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

You can't really get into the Christmas spirit...
But it usually gets to you by the end of the holiday.


The storm we had last week was huge. Instead of little white hail stones, I had clear jagged lumps of ice hitting the glass around the house. I had Niagra Falls over every spouting because the downpipes couldn't cope nor could the drain in the carport so that flooded. To give you some idea of how much rain fell, I had the big yellow recycle bin emptied in the morning and that ended up half full of water. A neighbour had to help me tip it up to empty because I couldn't move it. I'm going to be thinking of that storm when the temperature hits 40 degrees plus on New Year's Eve.

Then we got more the next day and I rescued a dove. So I looked around for Noah and the Ark but only the dove. Poor little thing, its feathers were so drenched and it was so battered that it was staggering across a busy road. Regardless of my own safety (read stupid) I shepherded the wee bird to the grass verge where it recovered and flew away. My Christmas good deed.

This is what I love about Melbourne, I get to whinge about the rain and two weeks later I get to whinge about the heat. The heat not only makes me lie and down and do nothing (colour me expert) but it brings out the wildlife. Huntszilla number three was caught and chucked out late last night. This one was a little agressive and I had to chase it across the ceiling before it dropped into the bag. Number three might only be one and two getting back into the house and it certainly knew a trick or six about avoiding the bag, like backtracking out of my line of sight. Nerve-wracking in the small hours.

Mummsy is her usual sweet self. I told her I was dying, sorry, enhancing my natural colour and she said why didn't I go gray, "..... after all you are old now!" Okay, thanks, without that I might have forgotten. Just to make sure, I have Pavlov's Cat's middle age meme to do. The excitement of it all.

Bring on 2008, I have tickets in Tattslotto, I will be rich.

Friday, December 28, 2007


So cute, so shiny, so pretty and so young. Next year, oh so close, I'm looking at one of those 'O' birthdays which will take me into the dirty old lady category if I post any more of these photos.
So here he is before I delete him permanently from the archives and go look for something old and grey wearing knee shorts with socks and sandals.
(The label does say fantasy)

Thursday, December 27, 2007


This is for Lord Hughes of Fleetwood. It's a new word I've discovered and it's from Yorkshire where all the good words come from. (shut up Fleetwood, I know youse is Lancashire) They don't gather holly there, they scroggle it, scroggling the holly in Yorkshire. I love it. Scroggling a dollar, scroggling a vote, scroggling the New Year booze. I think I've just moved 'grackle' down to second place. Scroggle has just scroggled first.

This is for Phil the car freak (can't spell enthusiast, oh just did). I bought my nephew a glossy car book for Christmas and naturally read it first as one does. I tell you phil I could never understand a bloke drooling over a thing with four wheels that goes from here to there until now. Classic Convertibles in full colour and suddenly I was in luuurve. I loved the lines of the E-type Jag but I'd need one for each foot. I'm talking from experience here, I got stuck in a formula one racing car once. Do not ask how I got out because I'm not quite sure how I got in. Anyway after going through the pretty pictures a dozen times or more, I decided on the Aston Martin DB9 Volante if I ever get thin enough to fit and in the meantime, a Rolls Royce Corniche in a lovely burgundy, not the flashy gold in the book, will do nicely.

Bug is still colonizing my innards but tolerated avocado and lemonade last night so tonight I'm going to hit it with Tofu and potato salad. Shopping for mother was the fastest supermarket trip on record, visit to her was second fastest and I slept for 3 hours when I got home. Safeway has all their chocolates at half price including Lindt and I didn't fancy any. Me, didn't fancy chocolate, me, I mean ME. Bloody virus.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Thank you very much for the presents. The computer meltdown was a great gift, may Rudolf's nose blow a gasket next year. The stomach virus was also great fun and is continuing to give me much joy as I watch the scales showing the weight loss.

The fridge has goodies but tea was half an avocado and two dry biscuits with a big treat, half a glass of lemonade. At least I'm catching up on sleep since I can hardly stand up for too long. This really bugs (ha!) me as all year I've kept reasonably good health discounting the mental disintegration caused by Mama and I have to get crook just before the feasting season.

Tomorrow I have to shop for the old bat but it will be a quick visit and home to bed. She moaned about what a miserable day it was for Christmas but she had more people through the house than I see in a week. My sister cooked a roast for her (after an eight hour shift) and she had pudding and brandy. Poor Aunt Selma had nothing apparently, Aunt Patty had too many. hahahha! Bad Luck.

BrickOutHouse has a new girlfriend, very nice so sis went out of her way to make it a lovely meal. She only had one upset and boiled the pudding in the plastic wrap but remembered it half way through. Nothing was burnt and I think that's pretty good after 6 cans of VB.

Did I mention I was home in bed? Ill, sick, dying, hungry, without a computer lifeline.

I had one present to open. Estee Lauder perfume, powder, lotion, bath oil. The box was beautiful and the right size for Christmas ornament storage (I made sis get hers out of the bin). The red ribbon made gorgeous roses for a table arrangement (for next year) and the paper was gold and just the right size to line a drawer. Now that's what I call a gift that keeps giving, apart from a stomach virus that is.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Okay 36 hours of continuous running microsoft restore and I'm back but the machine won't let me access any files because I don't have permission and I can't get permission because I can't get into the files.

I don't know if it will turn back on when I turn it off and of course, my anti-virus isn't on because I can't get into the security system. Zone Alarm is updated but won't turn the anti-virus on without permission which I can't get.

I had the machine on stand-by and could see the storm coming but had to drag the groceries inside and just didn't make it back in time when the first lightning strike hit. Serious systems error, thank you for Christmas.

Moorabbin had 38 mm of rain on Thursday and Cheltenham had 40 on Friday with thunder, lightning and falling trees and fritzed computers.

I don't know how people can go 'cold turkey' from blogging. I've lost years off my life and can't remember the best blog event I was ever in the middle of. I also got crook and spent two days in bed with no computer, no internet. I may have post traumatic stress disorder.

If I don't post for a few days, it's locked me out of everything, stupid machine.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


There's nothing like being in the middle of a bloggable event and the computer gets fried by lightning.

I've got a systems restore running, has been for 24 hours and still going but I might be lucky to have everything back by Friday.

So I haven't been hit by a sleigh and the old girl's still with us.

I'm thinking of you all, that's all I can do.

I have to confess I'm computer addicted. I'm lost without my keyboard.

Have a great time over the holidays, I'll be in a corner sobbing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The West Australian
17 December 2007Dawn Gibson
Page 3 (with pic of Sam, Kelly and nanny)
This Christmas promises to be the most memorable in the lives of Perth gay couple Sam and Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne – the first they will share with their baby daughter Charlotte Kathleen.
Charlotte’s arrival three months ago marked the end of an emotional three-year wait, during which both women had fertility treatment in a bid to realize their dream of having a family. To their joy, Sam eventually became pregnant through IVF using sperm donated by a friend from interstate.
While the couple acknowledged that many people did not agree with the idea of a child being raised by two mums, they said they had done a lot of soul-searching before their decision and were determined to be the best parents they could.
Charlotte’s biological father will also play a big role in her life. He visited Charlotte shortly after her birth, gets photographs of her emailed to him every day and will see her again early next year when the family visit him.
"The main thing that happy families have in common is love and we have got that in abundance," Kelly said."From a child’s point of view, I would much rather be raised in a family where I knew I was loved and had been wanted for many years, rather than as a result of an unwanted pregnancy.
"Kelly’s mother Karen Sumner said she was not bothered her first grandchild would be brought up without a father in the house. "I don’t even think of it as an issue," she said. "She will have a great upbringing.
"The couple, who have been together for almost 16 years and legally use the same surname, were surprised by the support they have received since a story about Sam’s pregnancy was published in The West Australian this year.
I couldn't have been more thrilled for two women to have a little girl than if they were my own daughters. They will make wonderful mothers and I support them in every way. By the time little Charlotte grows up, same-sex marriage will be such a part of everyday life in every day suburbs that no one will consider it not to be a normal arrangement.
For short time lurkers who don't know my background, I am a straight grandmother who decided to do something about the gay teens who thought suicide was a better alternative to living in a world that considered them as sick, perverted and sinful. I joined the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby to work towards the same rights as heterosexual couples enjoy but are denied to same sex couples.
This was a lifestyle choice for me, being gay is not and prejudice because of who you fall in love with has no place in a civilised society.
Kelly and Sam, have a wonderful first Christmas morning with Charlotte. I still intend to dance at your wedding.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Now when I left the blog last night/early in the morning, I was happy but I couldn't sleep so I threw on a nightdress, lay on the bed to read a book. Spiders are really stupid, if he'd crawled out quietly through the armhole I probably wouldn't have noticed. But no, he had to come crawling up through the boobs until I was looking squarely at his fangs. (cockroaches, spiders and boobs seem to be a feature in my life) Naturally I panicked and rolled on him (that's happened to a few sailors as well) and you wouldn't believe how flat Daddylonglegs can get, a bit like pressed flowers in a phone book for a year. Not much sleep after that and when I did sleep I woke up to WW3.

Mother, sister, nephew and me, the peacemaker. It was mid afternoon before I sorted everyone out or so I thought, I've just taken the last phone call at 10.15. Nephew wanted to know where his brush and comb were and I didn't know but I found the can-opener, would he like that shoved through his hair. The ritzy expensive can-opener that I caught my finger in has been missing since then. I found it today in the bamix box at the back of the pantry and why was it in the bamix box. Oh, you sillies, it's white and so is the bamix so naturally they belonged together. "Isn't it one of it's attachments?" says mother. Nephew says, "I'd forgotten I had a bamix. I could be using that." And so it went on for another 30 minutes of name-calling and blaming until I sent the old girl to bed and the young nephew out to anywhere but there.

My sister just rang on the mobile, now he can't find his cuckoo clock. Her language was anything but motherly.


1.29 Monday morning, I've had a shower, I'm going to bed happy.

My blog is back as it should be not searing my eyeballs like a glow-in-the-dark jockstrap.

IE 7 is consigned to the scrapheap.

If someone could tell me how to run Firefox through Optusnet/Outlook express then I'd be really happy.


Some little children are like the two I met this morning. Very sweet and polite. The four year old told his sister to make way for the lady with the baby in her tummy. Cute thing thinking I was young enough to get pregnant and we all know I'm big but did he have to move his sister to the middle of the road to make room for me. Diet again, resist Christmas chocolates.

Speaking of Christmas. I have only one thing on my list but it's big.
I want a self cleaning bathroom.
They can do it with ovens why can't they do it with bathrooms.
I still have sore fingers from last week so now add a sore elbow from where I fell in the bath trying to clean the other side.

My observations on bathrooms are as follows:
You cannot clean in between sliding doors. You have to wait until the mould comes out.
Baths are totally unnecessary for people with dodgy knees who can't use them, the bath that is.
Powder is invisible on white tiles so it's not worthwhile sweeping it up until it's at least thick enough to slide on which is dangerous to those of us with dodgy knees.
Silverfish treat this room like a Club Med until they hit the powder. Powder clogs their antennae and they run in circles and die.
Showers should consist of an upright slab of glass and a flat floor.

The only reason I've cleaned everything up is that I'm expecting a visit from an expensive bottle of perfume for Christmas.

And why am I doing this at 12.26 in the morning, because I downloaded IE updates and got landed with IE7 which I officially hate. It's taken 5 hours and all I wanted were XP updates. I'm now going to take great pleasure in uninstalling the whole kit and caboodle. And for the technically competent, I know firefox is much better but I can't work out how to use that and optusnet and all the other rubbish that goes on inside this machine. I can hide links now, what more do you want.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Ma's gone quiet.
It's like waiting for the other boot to fall.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Back in September 2006 I blogged about salmon farming and how the fish were given chemicals to achieve the level of colour that they got naturally by eating krill and wondered how long before it was realized it was cheaper to feed them the krill.

It wasn't long. Antarctic krill is already being overharvested to feed farmed salmon. Krill are tiny shrimp like creatures and are the staple diet of polar marine animals including penguins and whales. The krill are already under threat with the loss of the sea ice and parts of the ice shelf which forms the krill nursery.

The US National Enviromental Trust says fishing-industry figures indicate that a catch of 746,000 tonnes will be made n the coming season, 25 per cent above the quota set by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

The krill eat phytoplankton, everything else eats krill or the creatures that feed on krill. It's all about balancing the environmental ecosystems that exist in polar waters. I'm all for stopping whale hunts but we also have to take a good look at the smaller picture.


This a bathymetric map of the Brothers Submarine Volcano and the Ngatoro Rift Basins, north of New Zealand. The Brothers volcano is one of a string of 33 volcanoes in the Kermadec arc, part of the Ring of Fire that forms a necklace of volcanoes around the entire Pacific Ocean. It forms where the mammoth Pacific tectonic plate plummets beneath the Australian tectonic plate.
This is the view of the active Brothers Volcano looking from the south into the crater at the summit of the volcano. The site has recently erupted and has ongoing hydrothermal venting. The caldera has two volcanic cones, the smooth one in the left foreground rises about 350 metres above the caldera floor to a depth of about 1,100 metres below sea surface. The smaller cone to the right, which is probably older but still has an intense hydrothermal system at its summit.
The eruption that created Brothers volcano was intense and explosive, creating steep walls whose slopes average 45 degrees. That average doesn't mean straight down, there's a steep drop followed by a modest drop followed by a sheer drop. At the top, the steep walls caved in to form a caldera, or crater, as wide as Mount St. Helens'. The insides of the caldera walls are rugged, with ampitheatre-sized slumps of old rock sliding into the crater.
The images were gathered by the research vessel Sonne during the New Zealand American Submarine Ring of Fire 2007 expedition.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


What Kind of Drink Are You?

You are a Fine Glass of Wine. You are sophisticated and refined, but also complicated and hard to deal with. Not everyone loves you, but those who do swear that you're the coolest thing since sliced bread. One of these days the people that matter will understand you. Until then, you will be sitting on your throne as the distinguished product that not everyone has the taste to appreciate.
Find Your Character @


Well it's been an interesting few days away from the blog. A run-in with old 'vinegar tits' from next door over the issue of my ivy breaking the fence down and rampaging through her garden. I keep the ivy off the fence and at a reasonable ground level but when idiots like 'her from next door' and old 'VTs' load up with fancy watering systems that rot the wood then the ivy will wander to greener pastures. I wasn't in the mood to haul timber and shore up the rotting fence since I have to scrounge a fence paling from somewhere.
She's the biggest whinger I've ever come across but she outdid herself last week. She complained about the gumtrees in the house opposite because the leaves were dropping in her courtyard, considering the north winds we've had lately she's lucky the trees didn't drop. Very interesting watching the tree loppers at work and hearing what looked like small branches making a booming noise as they hit the ground. I didn't realize how high the two gums had grown but now they're just memories and she's not pleased. The outlook from her house is so terrible now, she only expected to have them take a few branches down and now it's so bare, boo hoo bitch.
This from a woman who has a 20 foot Tulip tree in the front yard which covers the neighbourhood in leaves all autumn. She has help from the council, her son and a gardner and wants me to tidy up my yard by myself. She's going to sell the house and she wants over half a million for it but she has to get the garden slob next door to do something about the ivy and I think this is where I started the post.

I don't think I'll talk about mother who has raised her status from bitch queen of the galaxy to bitch empress of the universe. Too painful there.

I've added another useless thing to my list of useless things. Automatic windows in cars. Ban them. Automatic means they keep closing even with people's fingers in the window. I ended up with a hand in ice for an hour and so far I've keep the bruising down and I won't lose the fingernails. This is why there's been no blogging.

So in the last week I've had the lights go completely in the study, the pilot light on the space heater went out which has never happened in all the years I've had it, the steam iron blew just as I finished the last dress, the computer screen froze on one site but kept working everywhere else and I nearly lost my fingers, right hand. Can anything else happen, yep, I can get two groups of teenagers in the one day filling my ears with the biggest load of drivel I've ever heard including 'like' after every second word. School's out and they're everywhere. I thought they were all up north getting drunk and stoned not down here annoying me.

I need to get a liver and start serious drinking.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


This is the Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, aged 12. She was a wild child, the Linday/Paris/Britney of the Court. She played piano duets with another wild child, Mozart. She was indulged by her governesses and what she wanted, she had.
The Bishop of Orleans, the Abbe Vermond, took on the task of educating her when she became betrothed to the Dauphin of France, grandson of Louis XV. The Abbe was firm but in the end he came to realise she would only learn so long as she was amused by the subject. A trait which continued all her adult life until the death of Louis XVI and it was only during her imprisonment that she began to show how capable she could have been in looking after the affairs of state had she had the education of another Queen, Elizabeth of England.

This is Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, painted by Elizabeth Vigee LeBrun. This is one of the most famous portraits of the Queen and the pose was repeated many times. It's thought to be the best likeness of her and Madame LeBrun has captured the unmistakable Hapsburg features. It was painted in 1783, six years before the French Revolution and nine years before her death under the guillotine's blade in October, 1793.

This is the necklace to be auctioned on December 12 at Christie's. The collar is set with twelve button-shaped grey natural pearls which are mounted in gold. It has a fringe of twenty-one graduated drop-shaped grey natural pearls, each suspended from an old-cut diamond collet surmount to the diamond ribbon which intertwines the ruby collar. The pearls which date to circa 1780, belonged to Marie Antoinette. This necklace was fashioned in 1849 for the wedding of George Granville William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower and Anne Hay-McKenzie.

The pearls were never set for the Queen. She gave the pearls and diamonds to Lady Sutherland, Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, the wife of the British Ambassador for safe-keeping as she had diplomatic immunity and could be trusted to return the jewells to Marie Antoinette if she ever escaped France. The Countess of Sutherland had kindly sent clothes and linen to the imprisoned Queen after the failed escape attempt by the Royal family in 1791. The pearls have been owned by the family since then and it's rare that the provenance of such gems can be traced back over 200 years to the French Royal Court of Marie Antoinette.
As an end note to this, my great, great, great, great grandparents lived in Paris during the revolutionary reign of terror and I often wonder if they saw the execution of the Queen or were more prudent and kept their distance and their own heads.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


To Mikhela and Lovergirl

Twins have arrived safely.

A girl, weighing 4lbs 11 ozs and a boy weighing 5lbs 5 ozs.

BECAUSE I LIKE FAIRIES - Wiccan pictures, magickal images, witchy layouts, and more - Wiccan pictures, magickal images, witchy layouts, and more

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


This slice of yum is from here and an Order of Australia to whoever thought of creating a blog devoted to finding the best vanilla slice.

Why am I half-way to heaven? Because this particular slice comes from San Sebastian's in Hampton, just a slurp and a drooool from my doctor's office. It's really going to make visiting Hampton a trial. This is just across from my other favourite, the Bohemian Cake Shop.

Decisions, decisions. I shop tomorrow but it's supposed to be hot so do I cab it to Southland or leave early, catch a bus and detour to Hampton first?

I could really do with a treat. Allison Dubois says you should treat yourself and not leave it up to others to make you happy. Checked the weight this morning, 132.7kgs, not good but I haven't put any on so treat it will be. I hope it lives up to the hype, it's a long way for a slice or three.


My sister gave me Allison Dubois' book, "Secrets of the Monarch" to read. This is from the chapter on relationships and being your own best friend.

"People who always make promises but never keep them aren't valued by others.
On the flip side are those who burn themselves out living for anybody but themselves, and they lose themselves in others. I'm asking you to find a balance. It's okay to say no to people when you're spread too thin and it's affecting you mentally and/or physically. Boundaries are important in life, and those who never learn to create boundaries for themselves can become doormats.
Equally destructive are those who refuse to respect other people's boundaries and see the lines as invisible. They cross these lines frequently as they disregard people and hurt them by sucking the very life out of them. Everyone has know an "energy sucker" as some point in his or her life. I mean a negative energy that literally depresses you and steals your energy."

Good stuff Allison, look after my mother while I go and have 'doormat' tattooed on my forehead.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Yesterday I walked over, 3kms all the way still, just missed the storm.
Fixed up whatever she confused them about at the chemist. I really don't know which chemist she rang but they didn't have a record of her request.
Shower, check.
Wash clothes, check.
Move videos to make space for DVDs, check.
Make lunch, bombed. She didn't like the sugar I put on the ham and cheese. Mustard you stupid bloody woman, mustard.
Shop, custard, bananas, ice-cream, the basic food groups. Forgot the milk, bugger.
She has the basic food groups and that will do for tea.
Good fortune, I get a ride home and save taxi fare.
6.30 she rings.
When do I get my tea? I need a meal to take my pills.
Apparently the basic food groups were afternoon tea not evening tea.
Sis has done an early shift straight after a late shift so she's in bed and I wouldn't let mum ring her. She only needs toast to take the pills.
An hour later the BrickOutHouse comes in and no sooner has his foot in the door than she starts.
We have left her to starve.
His mother is too lazy to get off her back and make her a meal.
I have gone to the pub (I wish) and left her without food.
You'd think one of them would have thought of me and on it went.

This is not forgetfulness, this is blatant outright bloody lying to get attention.
I've been seething all day.
She's rung three times and I haven't said a word.
But I'm thinking of quite a few.
It's a sad thing to say but anything I do now is not out of love, it's just because I won't let her get the better of me.
And she's started on fckn Christmas already.