Friday, February 29, 2008


Fresh from stitching elastic to my flat open back granny cruncher sandals. I mean I couldn't even call them fashionable in a month of Sundays but half price is half price even if I can't keep them damn things on my feet. So I get to drool over these divine shoes which I'd fall off just standing still. Fuschia and black, my signature colours too.


The synchrotron light beam is up to 1,000 times brighter and more brilliant than standard infrared and X-ray lights. This intense light is produced when electrons moving close to the speed of light are directed by magnets, after leaving the storage ring, to the end work stations via a beam line.

The research team at the School of Biospectroscopy, Monash University was the first group to pioneer the use of synchrotron light on living organisms. One of their aims was to develop a diagnostic tool to probe the chemical structure and identify individual pre-cancerous cells of Cervical cancer.

Infrared spectroscopy uses synchrotron light shining through a single cell to obtain a spectrum that reveals its chemical composition. It gives all the biochemicals in a single cell in seconds. This is where the diagnosis of cervical cancer comes in. Cancer causes chemical changes in cells before they undergo morphological changes. This change is picked up in the spectra where it isn’t with the naked eye using a microscope.

The Papanicolou Test also know as a pap smear uses material from the cervix to test but this also contains many different types and stages of cells, red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, endocervical cells as well as cells already cancerous. This is the difference in this test, used now, and the test being developed that can identify a single cell before it becomes malignant. Researchers use a pattern recognition program to arrange spectra of tissue into recognisable groups. The program then creates a false colour picture of the cell and the cancer cell appears a different colour making them easy to recognise.

A diagnostic test of pre-cancerous cells. No testing of a cluster of cells already morphing into a tumour.

The Fermiscan test is also being trialed to confirm that breast cancer can be detected by
synchrotron X-ray diffraction of hair. The accuracy of diagnosis was 89%. The Fermiscan web page is full of information.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


A new survey of 2000 women by the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre and the National Ovarian Cancer Network, shows 60 per cent wrongly believed pap tests detected ovarian cancer and 20 per cent could not name a symptom of the disease.

The Director of the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, Dr. Helen Zorbas, said the symptoms were often vague and common to many other diseases. She said about 1400 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, most of them in late stages. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological cancer and has a five-year survival rate of 42 per cent which is less than half that of breast cancer.

Ovarian cancer symptoms include abdominal bloating, abdominal or back pain, loss of appetite or feeling full, constipation, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss or gain, indigestion or heartburn and fatigue. Most of which women have every month and soldier on through it all.

Ovarian cancer runs in my family. Both Aunts had enormous tumours removed successfully. Even though one had spent months trying to roll the lump in her stomach flat with a rolling pin.
My mother, being an identical twin, missed on this as her doctor advised her to have the ovaries removed. (She'd already had a hysterectomy due to massive infection)

I had all the symptoms and took no notice. I was lucky, I only had ovarian cysts on both ovaries, if you can call that lucky. Cysts like this can go on for a long time but they can also twist and that is pain. The type of pain that knocked me to my knees and took my breath away. It was half an hour before I could crawl to the phone to get help. I had an ultrasound which showed two enormous cysts and was booked in the next day for an exploratory op to find out if they were cancerous. 50/50 given our family history. I had a hysterectomy with everything inventoried and inspected.

When I came to, it was a relief to hear that everything was clear. I haven't forgotten what I felt as I watched that image on the ultrasound or the relief at the all clear. That's why I can't believe that all these years later, with so much information at our finger tips, that women still don't know enough about this killer. If your doctor says not to worry but you are, get a second opinion from a cancer specialist. It's worth every cent to find out for sure.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I washed under the stove, no not a highlight. It wasn't for the Club Med for spiders I wiped out.

I disturbed a cockroach who promptly disappeared, slippery little cocker.

After all that I need a cuppa, Earl Grey, Fairtrade which apparently is anything but.

I lit the gas.

Cockroach was sitting on the hob.

No wonder he disappeared. Apollo 13 slingshotting around the moon had nothing on this beast.

A minute's silence now. He's dead. 508 million more to go.


No, not much, stuff all actually.

Stargate Atlantis is back without fanfare so I missed half of it by not reading the tiny tiny print in the TV guide.

My mother is into her 28th personality change.

My BBQ was cancelled for today.

Numb3rs is back, David Krumholtz makes maths so sexy.

I made a new jewell box. Just what I need another dust catcher.

I made a new dress for summer just in time to get out the winter woollies for today.

I keep walking out of my new shoes. Please, someone, Blundstones, make them in pastels.

I have raspberry ripple ice-cream for tea and I'm not sharing it.........not even Krumholtz.

I could use him as a dish. blokes are handy for that. They have a spoon rest.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Humorous Pictures

I'm incapable of intelligent thought or speech but hope to regain some sanity soon. So where's the best place for brain refreshment, anywhere that has kitty cats. I couldn't resist this one.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008




You Are Bare Feet

You are a true free spirit, and you can't be tied down.

Even wearing shoes can be a little too constraining for you at times!

You are very comfortable in your own skin.

You are one of the most real people around. You don't have anything to hide.

Open and accepting, you are willing to discuss or entertain almost any topic.

You are a very tolerant person. You are accepting and not judgmental.

You should live: Somewhere warm

You should work: At your own business, where you can set the rules


These photos were taken at Sleightholme Beck, just north of the Yorshire Dales National Park.
The icicles, some over 12 feet long, cascade over a river bank. The temperature has been -5 degrees C or lower over successive nights and moisture seeps down from the fells, slowly forming tiny icicles which build up to these huge stalactites. They'll won't thaw for weeks even with the temperature building up to 11 degrees C.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


It's only Tuesday and I've had three days of being massively pissed off by my mother.

I know she's losing what's left of her memory but she denies it. She accused the pharmacist of packing her pills the wrong way and making her feel sick and I'll have to do something about it. Like Hell! I know exactly what's she's done. She gets the webster pack on a Wednesday night to start Thursday morning, ending the next Wednesday but she's started on the Wednesday and nothing I could say would convince her.

I rushed around shopping, paying bills, cooking for the freezer and listening to the biggest load of rubbish without saying anything. A lot of banging of pots and slamming of doors went on though.
Four hours later and I'm discussing the situation with sister and my nose starts running. Great, Hay Fever again except sister is rushing a box of tissues under my chin. Not snot, blood and lots of it running down my neck. Oops, blood pressure.

Fortunately I am a fast clotter so I managed to get home without Kleenex stuffed in my nose. Has anyone ever had a clot test? I don't know if they do it differently now but they put a instrument against the skin and little razor blades shoot out and wound one. The nurse watches and times how long the blood takes to clot. So I'm a good clotter.

The three of us have had too many health breakdowns in the last six months but the good ship "MrsNeverWrong" still sails on.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Ammonites are an extinct group of marine animals. They are excellent index fossils, and it is often possible to link the rock layer in which they are found to specific geological time periods. Their fossil shells usually take the form of planispirals. Their spiral shape begot their name, as their fossilized shells somewhat resemble tightly-coiled rams' horns. Plinius the Elder (died 79 A.D. near Pompeii) called fossils of these animals ammonis cornua ("horns of Ammon") because the Egyptian god Ammon (Amun) was typically depicted wearing ram's horns.

This lovely speciman was shown at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Fossil Ammonites from Whitby in England have been sold as petrified snakes. The formidable St. Hilda was said to have caused a plague of snakes to have been turned to stone and local craftsmen often carved snakes heads on the fossils for sale to pilgrims. One of the ammonites was called Hildoceras after the saint. The coat of arms of Whitby include three 'snakestones'. St. Hilda was so revered that one local legend says birds flying over her Abbey dip their wings in her honour. Women rule even in legend.

This fossil is Xiphactinus audax and this particular specimen is 17 feet long and was discovered by Mike Everhart in 1996. It's been found with undigested prey in its stomach but the eater was also eaten and it's been found in the stomachs of larger predators. The species went extinct when the Niobraran Sea began to dry up in the late Cretaceous period. I set this as desktop wallpaper to get a close up personal look at its teeth and they are biiiig. Makes my little fish fossil limestone look like whitebait.


I can't remember where I picked him up. Somewhere along the Internet and filed for a rainy day. I think I'd like to grow young with him. Next post is about fossils which he isn't. This post is labelled 'Fantasy' and I'm his.

Thursday, February 14, 2008





Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I have been reading a few posts recently regarding the deaths of loved mothers, fathers, siblings or close friends.

I have a problem with death, more precisely with grief and grieving. I don't do it. My shrink from way back wanted to know what I did do about death. This was before my father and my son died so I hadn't had those dramas to tell her.

There are rooms in my mind, down the stairs towards the dungeons but up a level. The dungeons are where the slings and arrows of outrageous hurts are locked up. Behind the other doors hide the deaths of people I knew and loved in varying degrees. Occasionally I'll open a door and have a look around at the memories and then I'll wander back up the stairs and continue on with life.

To mothers, the death of a child is the most horrific thing imaginable. My fear was that my son would die before he experienced the world around him. When he died at 24, he'd packed more experience into those years than anyone else I know. I cried when I heard about his accident and then I didn't cry again for nearly ten years.

All of the deaths in my life have been gradual. No-one has ever suddenly stopped being, without my having been able to say goodbye. And then there is my, perhaps unreasonable, belief that we have all been here before and we will be here again and so we never really pass away completely. I believe I'll see them all again, not sitting on some cloud in some imaginary heaven but here, in someone's else's eyes I'll recognise for a moment something familiar.

I've seen a grief counsellor. I had contact with The Compassionate Friends, a group that concentrates on helping parents with the death of a child, of any age. They helped by telling me that I was always the strong one, the rock against which grieving family leaned. So I put death down in those little rooms with the strong doors and never grieved.

I'm not without compassion, feelings or empathy. I am shocked by cruelty in all its forms. Death is still tragic, I just don't grieve.

Monday, February 11, 2008


For a start they call this recipe, Mousetraps.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 small block loaf of bread,
cut into 8 thick slices, toasted
100g sliced leg ham
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese
Preheat a grill on medium-high heat. Place toast, in a single layer, on a baking tray. Top with ham.
Beat egg yolks in a bowl until well combined. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites in a clean, dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir half the eggwhites into cheese mixture. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in remaining eggwhites. Spoon mixture over ham. Place mousetraps under hot grill. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until egg mixture is golden and cooked through. Serve.

Seems a lot of trouble for what's basically grilled cheese. And they still claim Pavlova for their own.


Sometimes you run across a blog that is so good it makes you want to pack up your keyboard and sit back to enjoy someone else's life.

Meet Jocelyn from America and enjoy her life.

Thank you Cee for the link.


It's unseasonably warm in England at the moment so for once it wasn't raining on the red carpet for the BAFTAS. Wearing a sequined mini dress and faux chiffon angel wings, Marion Cotillard arrives to win Best Actress for her role in La Vie en Rose and worst outfit on the night.

Tilda Swinton won Best Supporting Actress for Michael Clayton and was also pipped at the post for worst outfit. It's a green/mustard affair from Couture Dior and the jacket is covered in black maple leaf shapes. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded of the film 'The Mummy' where the rampaging scarabs emerge from the sand and engulf every human in sight. Still Tilda is Tilda and has never danced to the same beat as other actresses.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Robert McClelland, meet the eyes of Miss Charlotte Pilgrim-Byrne and give a damn good reason why you don't agree that her mothers can have a ceremony for a civil partnership or even a marrriage.
Federal Attorney Robert McClelland thinks the ceremonial aspects of the proposed ACT Civil Partnerships Bill are "inappropriate".
ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell said the territory would not back from its plans to allow gay couples some form of ceremony.
"We will stand by our commitment to our community for the legal option for a ceremony - that is our position," Mr Corbell told The Australian.
The Rudd government has previously opposed gay civil unions and prefers a system of state-based relationship registers. Mr. McClelland declined to say whether the government was prepared to override territory legislation if the ACT defied the Commonwealth and passed the bill.
Don't stuff it up Kevvie, Miss Charlotte will be a voter before you know it.


Another MODIS image taken from NASA's Terra Satellite on January 24, 2008 (top) and January 30, 2008.

The top image of the Antarctic Peninsula showed the fast ice (ice anchored to the land) looking solidly frozen but over the next few days the ice's blue hue changed.
Blue ice is pure ice composed of relatively large crystals. Ice absorbs a tiny amount of red light which makes blue and green light reflect off the surface. The red-absorption is obvious in pure ice because of those large crystals than it is in tiny snow crystals which appear white.
The blue indicates that temperatures have warmed enough to melt the upper snow layer and a thin film of water might also be resting on the surface.
While the change in these images looks dramatic, the summer thaw, which usually begins in early to mid-December, was delayed by the 2007 La Nina causing unusually cold temperatures so this area remained solidly frozen into January 2008


A garbage dump of all things plastic floating in two huge patches either side of the Hawaiian Islands, held in place by underwater currents. This sea of rubbish is translucent and not detectable in staellite photographs as it lies just beneath the surface of the water.
Curtis Ebbesmeyer is an oceanographer and leading authority on flotsam who has tracked the build-up of plastics in the seas for 15 years. He says this 'trash vortex' is like a living entity.
"It moves around like a big animal without a leash. When that animal comes close to land, as it does at the Hawaiian archipelago, the results are dramatic. The garbage patch barfs and you get a beach covered with this confetti of plastic".
I've seen one of these beaches covered with bright plastic pebbles but haven't managed to google an image. Probably the tourist board wouldn't like it publicised.
The soup contains everything from footballs, kayaks, lego blocks and carry bags. Syringes, cigarette lighters and toothbrushed have been found inside the stomachs of dead sea birds. They get their heads tangled in plastic six pack holders and turtles swallow plastic bags thinking they're jellyfish. It's not just rubbish thrown from ships and oil rigs (that accounts for about one-fifth) but land based plastic industries contribute hundreds of millions of tiny plastic pellets which attract and bind to other pollutants such as hydrocarbons and DDT. Modern plastics are so durable that objects 50 years old have been found in the north Pacific dump.
The UN Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.
Professor David Karl is co-ordinating an expedition with the Algalita Marine Research foundation to find and research this floating garbage patch which he believes could be a new habitat. He wants data on the distribution and impact of plastic in the marine ecosystem.


To Laura, 15 years old today.
Her birthstone is the Amethyst which Moses described as a symbol of the Spirit of God. Popular belief has it offering protection against drunkenness - the Greek word 'amethystos' means 'not intoxicated'. The Greek Goddess, Artemis, turned a nymph whom Bacchus loved into an amethyst hence the old name of Bacchus stone. Pliny of Rome said to wear it round the neck on a cord made from dog's hair to protect against snakebite. It is said to be the stone of friendship. The Amethyst has a very prominent position in the ornaments of the Catholic clergy because it was thought to put the wearer in a chaste form of mind and symbolised trust and piety.
So in honour of her birthday and her French ancestors, I'm giving her this cyber gift. It's a beautiful 1850s French Belle Epoch brooch crafted by Jules Wiese for Maison Froment-Meurice, Paris.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


This is a planktonic collage from an algae bloom in the North Pacific Ocean put together by biological oceanographer, Mary Wilcox Silver.

It's a long way from the Southern Ocean where the icebreaker Polarstern sailed on an expedition from the Alfred Wegener Institute. The scientists mission was to obtain data on how much surface-drifting plankton algae can reduce the the carbon dioxide of the surface waters.

The expedition started in Cape Town on November 28, 2007. Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bathmann of the Institute, 53 scientists from 9 countries studied the biological carbon pump in the Southern Ocean. They discovered, amongst other things, that melting sea ice has created a pool of fresh water on the sea surface.

They also discovered and investigated an algal carpet drifting in the water near the edge of the sea ice. This bloom measured 700,000 square kilometres, i.e. approximately twice the size of Germany. There was a significant decrease in the carbon dioxide of the surface water. The scientists collected data from the surface bloom down the water column to the species living on the seafloor, the first time this has been done.

The Polarstern has already left for the next Antarctice expedition to record current physical and biogeochemical conditions in the Southern Ocean. It will be deploying buoys and drift units designed to sink to deep water to measure ocean currents and interactions between sea and ice, ocean and atmosphere.

This is scientific research. Killing whales is profit.


Valentine's Day and Plush Toys. What a horrible combination of memories this dredges up. I mean I quite like old 'Eeyore' up there and always preferred him to Pooh the bear with very little brain. But the very little brain I married gave me a plush toy for our first Valentine's Day.

I should have changed my name and moved overseas the minute I received this fabulous token of his affection (or derangement).

I have not forgotten trying to get home in a train carrying a two and a half foot high plush elephant. You know the saying, "ignore the elephant in the room", well try ignoring a fluorescent pink elephant accented with fluorescent green ears and feet on a crowded train.

Donations of Krug Champagne for a Valentine's Day tipple will be gratefully accepted. I will supply the pink elephants.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Serious approach to the problem of female arousal disorder (FSAD) and (FSD), formulated scientifically to provide satisfaction and lasting pleasure.

Benefits:boosted desire in hundreds of women;extreme sensitivity to stimulation;effective in women with a hysterectomy and menopause before the age of 50.

The very next email was from the ex.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

THERE ARE DAYS...........

When I hate being a vegetarian. When I'm out at the line bringing in the washing and some fool is frying onions on a barbecue and I can smell sausages as well.

You just can't get that onion frying smell indoors, it's a barbecue thing.

I had potato and bean salad for tea.

I wanted sausage and fried onions in a slab of fresh bread smothered with tomato sauce.

I think I'm beginning to crack.

Repeat this mantra "tofu is your friend".

It's not working, time for the chocolate ice-cream emergency bowl.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Glitter Graphics

Fantasy Glitter Graphics -


So before I start whining have a look at this MODIS mosaic image of Antarctic ice loss between 1996 and 2006. The colours indicate the speed of the ice loss. Purple/red is fast. Green is slow.
The ice in the form of glaciers flows towards the surrounding sea like icing on a cake. Around the coast where the ice forms a floating shelf, the warmer waters are causing the ice to thin and collapse and the glaciers are able to flow faster. So it's not so much the ice melting, it's the reason that it's melting, ocean currents are changing and becoming warmer.

I read somewhere today that man has changed the earth so quickly that this time should be named as a new epoch. I don't care, I'll just build an ark and load up the dinosaurs like Noah did. It's true, honest, the Fundies told me.

Chicken Pox has left the building. Mumzilla is still with us. My granddaughter turns 15 next week and is off to France in September with the school group. She's always wanted to see France but she doesn't know that my side of the family originally came from Paris. I haven't seen her or her sister for two years but I did get an email photo about 8 months ago. They're both beautiful.

I have issues with Windows because it won't let me install Ad-aware. It wouldn't even let me install Microsoft ant-malware. I downloaded a program called CCleaner which certainly cleaned up everything including Ad-aware. So that's un-installed. There is a small being that lives inside this machine and if I listen carefully I can hear the bastard sniggering. I had one small victory, my sitemeter button is back, well it's really big news for me. I sweated blood over the html because I had to type it all out because I copied it to clipboard and can't find the clipboard. Little being is sniggering again.

And to top off the week I had two invitations for outing tomorrow, drought/pouring, but one was cancelled until later this month and I was all okay for the other but you know where I'm heading instead. Sound familiar, well today is Groundhog Day in America and I swear I'm living that film.