Monday, March 31, 2008


After another hour of fiddling with VCR, DVD and TV, we have solved the problem.

1. Put back the old TV connected to the VCR.

2. Put the new TV beside it and connect that to the DVD.

3. Forget about it all and go to the movies tomorrow.

4. Do all of the above before we have cocktail hour.

5. Buy more gin for the cocktail hour.

6. Stop drinking the Bombay and we might get the first two right.


The evil twin sister is now the wicked twin sister who nearly lost Mother Medusa her beloved family by saying terrible things to us.

The same terrible things that she was told about by MM.

Now MM is happy that we're talking to her again and everything in her world is rosy.

I want to know what the council is putting in the Meals on Wheels.

I may order them in for me.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


My sister arrived this morning with her 20 year old television to replace my 25 year old television so that I can hook up the DVD player I've had for two years.

How simple that sounds when I type it.

The House Bwca and I spent about three hours playing with electric cords and coloured leads and wondering why we couldn't get anything to work. It did help when we put batteries in the DVD remote control. Well, I'm very careful with things like that, I took them out when I wasn't using the DVD and I forgot.

We eventually had a picture running from the DVD to the TV and no sound. It was okay because we're both old enough to remember silent movies and it was a comedy so we laughed. During her tea break my sister turned up with a tech savvy friend who told us we needed a three pronged cord which he'd brought with him and we were using a two pronged cord which came with the DVD so not our fault.

The film was funnier with the sound. Then we spent another hour trying to get the picture back by running the TV through the VCR. (is everyone still with me?) We finally did that but we don't know what we did so we'll probably go through it again tomorrow night.

So it was an elephant stamp for the House Bwca for the DVD, one for me for getting the pilot light on the space heater to stay lit and another one each for not spilling the Bombay in frustration minus one for me for thinking it was the end of Daylight Saving and putting all the clocks back.

Friday, March 28, 2008


It's not my fault. Mother Medusa has had us all at sixes and sevens for the entire week. It's been stressful but it's all fixed now. According to her, she has kept the family together by unselfishly forgiving us for how we acted. She loves Meals on Wheels, not particularly the food but the sympathy she's getting from the volunteers is welcome because her crappy family don't do sympathy.

I have a witness to this week's insanity.

A wandering country boggart dropped in carrying a bottle of Bombay Sapphire and while I cook, the brownie washes dishes. We're doing this very well considering the length of the cocktail hour/s. There isn't time to blog, what with slicing up lemons and freezing water for ice and drinking.

Not only do brownies help in kitchens, they help in computers. My bookmarks are aphalbetically sorted and put in folders and do you think that didn't confuse two eyeballs full of gin. I also blame the Bombay for wondering why I haven't had an email from her in a week.

Now I've been tagged to give you 5 weird things about me or the blog. Sorry Helen but I lost the rules.

1. I'm not weird.

2. Nothing I do is weird.

3. My family is weird.

4. Eating chocolate cream covered sponge with strawberries and drinking gin is delicious not weird.

5. Thinking that Lord Hughes of Fleetwood and Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore are two of the tallest, darkest, handsomest 'Mr Darcy' types I've ever known is truly weird. I blame the gin for that hallucination. They're funny though, weird but funny but that could be the gin.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


You are The Hermit

Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.

The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


Image there is from England where it's Spring. That's the Seaham Lighthouse, County Durham, 33 feet high and the 50 foot waves belting the coast over the Easter break.
We had good rain from a thunderstorm last night with more expected over the next few days.
The Citrus trees breathed a sigh of relief but I'll keep filling the bucket in the shower.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


The article also gave some hints for remembering. (article in New Scientist, February, 2008)

1. PAY ATTENTION. Make a conscious effort to think about where you leave your keys when you come in. You could even try saying aloud ‘I am putting my keys on the table’.

2. BE ORGANISED. Memories are like pieces of mail, it takes very little effort to open your mail and throw the contents all over your desk, but when you need to retrieve one, it won’t be easy. If you file related pieces of mail together, it’s a snap.
So when you need to remember something, try to link it to an existing strong memory. Mnemonics can also help file concepts together. (excrement = ex-husband, that works)

3. GET EMOTIONAL. Emotional arousal enhances memories - even when the memories themselves aren’t emotional. Test subjects shown neutral pictures of houses and faces followed by emotionally charged pictures remembered the neutral pictures better when they were followed by emotionally arousing pictures.

4. REVIEW. Retrieving items from memory makes them more likely to be remembered in future and keeps them from being bumped out of the way by new memories. So rehearse the name of the person you just met within 30 seconds, and once or twice more with increasing time between rehearsals.

My number one: I am shutting the door on my foot, I am dragging in two bags of groceries, I am putting on the light/air-conditioner/space heater, I am desperate for a pee, I have just shut the door with the keys still in the lock.

My number two: file all mail on the floor, it provides insulation and it’s sure to be there for at least three months. To illustrate, ex had received a wedding invite that didn’t include me. I watched him search through briefcase and files until I bent down and picked it up off the floor where I’d pitched it.

My number three: I tried this and it didn’t work. Naked guy, house, naked guy, face, naked guy, house, naked guy, face. Couldn’t recall the house or face but I certainly got emotional over the naked guy I was using.

My number four: I’m good with faces unless they’re accompanied by a naked guy but nothing will help me remember names unless I’m using Prof. Umbridge’s pen to write it down. In the article Michael Anderson says that the reason most people don’t have good memories for names is that they’re lazy. Rubbish, try being introduced to someone at a party while juggling a drink, handbag, food and noticing the introduced has his fly/flies (another thing I can't remember) undone.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


In the same article was a test for the ability to suppress one memory in favour of another.
Each of the words below has a verb meaning and a different noun meaning which is more commonly used.

For each of them try to come up with a word association for the verb meaning.
For example, for DUCK, write ‘crouch’.

Most people find it difficult to temporarily ‘forget’ associations with the more dominant noun meaning, and want to write ‘quack’ next to DUCK.


My answers are in the comments. I kept getting mixed up with verb and noun and I certainly wasn't fast with the answers. Some answers are just plain weird.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I’ve been reading an interesting article on memory and forgetting the things we don’t need to remember. According to Dan Schacter of Harvard University, the brain has developed strategies to weed out irrelevant or out-of-date information. Efficient forgetting is a crucial part of having a fully functioning memory. When we forget something useful, it just shows that this pruning system is working a little too well.

“In simple terms, new memories start life as the temporary excitation of synapses in a network of neurons. If you recall a memory, the same neural pathways are reactivated. The more times this happens, the more important the brain deems the memory t be and the more likely it is to be converted into a long term memory, by forming permanent connections between the neurons. These connections are reinforced each time the memory is recalled, making it easier to retrieve.”
I take this to be a reason we all can recall the hurts and downsides of our lives much clearer than the good times. The stupid embarrassing events we’d like to forget forever seem to always be lurking ready to remind us what an arse we made of ourselves. We do remember the good things that have happened but if someone asked you to quickly recall a memory, would it be happy or sad? My sister mightn't remember the lovely smile she had after getting new teeth but I'll bet she remembers sneezing and shooting them down the ward to land at Matron's feet.

In my case it was hard. The bad rushed up waving banners and I was hard put to spot the good wandering around in the background. The fiasco of my wedding day comes before the relief of him leaving me but that might be a time thing. I was married longer than I was divorced although the divorce is a much happier time than the marriage.

The memory pruning system is working well in one way ( gross-out TMI coming up) I can’t remember what he looked like naked or his dick size. Now you’d think I’d remember that, what with him standing in front of the bedroom mirror every morning, re-arranging his remaining hair strands.

But, even in those days, my brain considered it irrelevant and forgettable.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I eat ice-cream when the Biggest Loser is on.
I feel so bad.
Like Hell.


This is the Golden Orb weaver, female and her mate, the small twerp on top. The image is by Frank Starmer. They're usually on the decline by this time of year but the warm weather has caused a boom in spider babies. Lots, since they may produce 300 from one egg sac.

During January and February, the females are still eating but the males have stopped and are looking for sex instead. So they should, the mating season is short and so are their lives as the females are inclined to eat the smaller male after mating. Sometimes the male will leave one of their legs in the web and while the female is chowing down, makes his escape. That's the trouble with males, there's always a smart one.

The Orb weavers belong to the Araneidae family - the masterweavers. They're easily frightened and will drop to the ground and pretend to be dead. (like me if I run into one) I haven't had a Garden Orb here for nearly 10 years but I don't miss having to shine a torch up the driveway to see if there's a web stretching from tree to fence. It didn't matter how huge the web was, the Orb would have eaten it by morning, ready to start over again at dusk. The silk of the web is made of two types, ordinary for the outline and main strands then filled in with a special sticky silk strand which is the insect trap.

I like the idea of cannabilising the mate though and there's always another horny weaver further up the branch.


I feel a Dame Joan moment coming....HighCcccccccccccccccccccccccccccccaaaaaaaaaa-breath- iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeefcuk.

Mother Medusa told a friend of ours that my sister and I ought to be shot for the muck we're dishing up for her to eat.

The freezer currently holds (most cooked by me)

1. Roast chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes and peas.
2. Meatballs with red wine sauce, mashed potatoes and peas.
3. Sausages, organic, gluten free, no preservatives with brown onion gravy, mashed potatoes and peas.
4. Crumbed fish.
5. Crumbed chicken.
6. Gourmet steak pies made with flakey puff paste.

I go to a specialist butcher for the sausages. I walk, catch a bus, don't drive a car remember and my sister serves it up after getting home after an eight hour shift at the hospital.
There's a lot of mash and peas but she won't eat vegetables at all if it's not these.
I buy small fruit containers, dairy desserts, and today, four small Creme Caramels.

Guess who's getting meals on wheels next week!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I've sewn up three patchwork quilt tops and put the frill on a cushion and reached the bottom of the "To Do" basket. Only two dresses to finish but one of those is for going out and I can't see myself doing that anytime soon so it can safely be left. The quilt tops had been pinned for so long the pins had gone rusty. These are only the tops, I haven't bought the cotton batting or the backing fabric.

There's a lot to remember about sewing them. Keep the seams to the mark on the footplate, sew the seams all the one way and something about washing and ironing the cotton before doing the sewing bit. I let that one slide, I just won't get them dirty. They're nothing fancy, just coloured squares which my quilting expert friend would run up between lunch and afternoon tea. I did forget one other rule, take your foot off the pedal when trying to thread the needle otherwise you can sew your finger to the material. Bum, that hurt.

I washed the clothes especially the new King size doona cover I bought last week for $20. Bargain plus, it's 280 thread count cotton and feels like silk. There's nothing quite like an end of lease sale which doesn't finish until the end of March so I can have another crack at the bargains. I would have put it on the bed but I didn't feel like wrestling with the doona and taking all of my 'can't live without' items off the bed. I've tried to live with a naked bed but it doesn't work. I need the books, note pad, walkman, phonebook, diary, journal, kleenex, and the present my sister bought for me last year. I haven't found the right spot for it yet but I like to open the box and look at it.

I also translated several incoherant phone calls from Mother. I stopped my sister from strangling her. I stopped myself from flinging the phone across the room. We have had four days of bitching (from her) until our patience has been exhausted. I cooked for her on Monday night, fresh chicken and potato salad, fresh fruit salad but she couldn't eat all the chicken. She said I shouldn't cook so much. Not half an hour later, she's in the kitchen getting bread and honey, a frozen desert and a cup of tea. I was steaming but walked out and slammed the front door instead of slamming her. She's now telling everyone that the BrickOutHouse spends his nights swilling wine which he never did until he got a girlfriend. It's wine because the bottles are green, she doesn't read labels or she'd know it's Pellagrino water. If I don't stop here and say more, I won't sleep. My nightly ritual is to empty my mind of Mother.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


This image of a thick plume of dust blowing over Saudi Arabia, the island of Bahrain and Iran was taken on 14th March this year with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite.

Last night was the hottest Melbourne March night on record.


These two icebergs were photographed by Oyvind Tangen on a research ship, 1,700 miles south of Cape Town and 660 miles north of Antarctica. The berg above with its distinctive stripes of dust, ground rocks and re-frozen melt water was 150 feet long and 30 feet high. The smoothness of this makes me think it's not just waterworn but has turned turtle.

This iceberg was 100 feet tall with this amazing blue stripe through the middle. The white colour of ice is due to the compressed bubbles of air which scatter light in all directions. The blue stripe is where part of the ice has melted in a crevice and re-frozen quickly enough to exclude bubbles.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I have one of life's mysteries to answer.
If I have only enough money to buy beads, on special, a quarter of their usual price and a chocolate nut cluster Easter egg, why do I always go for the item that will last longest?

Believe me it's not the egg.

So many luscious, rich and unusual eggs this year and such outrageous prices. I'm torn between the roasted nut cluster egg or the rocky road egg from Hillier's. I can't afford to even look at the Lindt eggs. Darrell Lea have chocs and eggs in the one box and I had my hand in my purse but the price! Mentally adding up how many tomatoes and apples I could buy instead, with change left over for the 'on special' beads, I walked away.

There was a time when Easter eggs were made of brown coloured sawdust, at least that's what they tasted like. Now the selection of an egg takes an hour for a small one and 24 hours deliberation for the name, filling, dark or light, shell or solid, with or without a side order of whatever's in the middle. Also a credit card (currently in a pay up or die balance) or a bank loan would be handy. For those of us not into wood and nails and redemption, chocolate eggs are the best reason for having Easter even if they're an old wives tale and nothing to do with pagan spring celebrations.

I did buy a rabbit. A fluffy mauve rabbit with a wonky eye and a bow. Give me a box of plush animals and I will always pick the one with a wonky something. It cost $2 and it will last a lot longer than an egg.

I still want an egg.

I really want an egg.

I want a really big egg with chocolates inside and out.


That's the Space Shuttle Endeavour on it's way to the International Space Station. It was a night launch last week and photographed by James N. Brown.

Friday, March 14, 2008


How about that. All these weeks of niggling pins and pains and annoyances turn out to be an infection.

I have to take anti-biotics. I hate taking anti-biotics but I have to take these after food. There is an upside.

The downside is they will probably make me feel bad and not want to eat.

I haven't had to take any since October 2005 except for going to the dentist but that's only one dose for the visit. I've had a good run of health despite the stress.

Blogging will not be interrupted.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


My sister came home last night to a crowd of people milling about the units where she lives. Now she knows there's no doubt about a housing crisis. Young, old, couples with babies, all very polite but desperate to get a two bedroom unit and willing to pay over $200 a week for it. I have to say the owner is not a greedy man and refused to let the estate agent advertise it for $250.

I hate internet banking.

My mother started taking her pills on the wrong day again.

My morning coffee break was continually interrupted by fat ladies wearing leggings and T-shirts going up an down the escalators. I'm allowed to crit fat ladies, I am one. It's not their fault but the fault of big stores who push these articles of clothing as the only suitable things for fat bums. I'll go with the leggings, just, but what's wrong with a nicely cut top that actually hides a few lumps and bumps. T-shirts do not hide anything. Okay so you think you look fat in a dress, well you probably do and that's because you're fat but you also look fresh and comfortable and, when you're not slopping in flipflop thongs, even a little elegant. Demand that stores stock bigger sizes at affordable prices.

The sight today that turned my head. A largeish Sudanese lady wearing a black and white print dress and looking stunning because she stood up straight and walked like a queen.

I was complimented about my new dress, lovely. It's rare that I finish all my summer frocks in the same year, there's always one ready for next season but when I put this one on, joy, it didn't fit. It was too big under the arms and across the shoulder. How can I lose weight there and not off the lardarse? I can't do much about the yoke but I can run it in 2 inches either side, 4 inches, 4 whole inches. I celebrated with cake, I'm all for reward.

Tommorow would have been my wedding anniversary, gag.

My thoughts on binge drinking. Where are they getting the money to buy booze when I can't?
Don't shut the pubs early or they'll drink in the streets, not that they aren't now, but at least keep them locked in four walls and make the booze sellers look after them. I've lived my life with drinkers, I don't like it. My sister drinks, sometimes to excess but you can never tell with her. My ex drank, you could tell with him, he'd walk on tiptoe and bounce off the walls. I can't drink more than 2 or 3 or I'm comatose so to see very young teens right off their heads on alcohol is plain nasty. Space yourselves kiddies, you might live to drink your pension cheque dry.

Bombay Sapphire is up again.

Cigarettes are over $10 a packet, that is single packet. I don't give cigs much thought but when I saw a young 'lady' buying a packet today and handing that kind of money over, I wondered how much a week was going on these. And the photos on the packs aren't doing any good. Sister and friends swap packets with each other if they can't stand the photos they have. What one smoker can tolerate, another can't. Brilliant ad campaign, really working.

I'm snarky, must be the age thing or the anniversary thing or the fact that he's still breathing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


While I was looking for myths and legends about ducks I came across some whacko old wives tales. Not much on ducks though, apparently the only bad thing a duck can do is lay a dun coloured egg and then you have to kill it. Plenty of politicians laying dun coloured eggs at the moment, can we kill them......please?

*A mole on a woman's thigh.
This means she's unfaithful and a great spendthrift. Half right, I was never unfaithful but I was a fantastic spendthrift.

*It's unlucky to cut fingernails on a Friday or Sunday. Sorry, it didn't say why.

*If a woman cuts the nails of her right hand with her left hand she will have the upper hand in marriage.
Unless she can cut nails with her left foot the woman definitely wins on this deal.

*Never eat anything when a funeral bell is tolling or toothache will follow.
I'm sure that one is made up. I've lost half my teeth and I've never heard a funeral bell.

*There is said to be a connection between the size of a person's nose and their sexual organs.
Good grief, no wonder I'm unlucky, I've been looking in the wrong place for years and asking complete strangers to remove their shoes before bed.

*If a girl's bra or pants should suddenly slip down, this is a sign that someone who loves her is thinking of her.
Okay, not faulty elastic or the underwires popping out.

*If two or more holes should appear in any of these items then tradition says the owner can expect a gift very shortly.
Considering the state of my blessed knickers I should have a truckload arriving any day now.

*Cats are looked upon as an infallible weather forecaster: If one sneezes then rain is on the way. A cat sitting with its back to the fire indicates a storm. A cat sharpening its claws on a table leg is a sign of a change in the weather, usually for the better.
Not in this house, any claws on wood was likely to be followed by a size 10 boot out the back door in any weather.

*A white horse could warn of danger, and lived longer than a dark horse, so was considered a living amulet against early death.
Caroline, may I borrow Luke for a month or two.

*The wren was for many years hunted and killed, partly out of hatred (because it was regarded as a sacred bird by the Druids and consequently denounced by the early Christians) and partly because it was believed the bird's feathers would prevent anyone from drowning. It is now very unlucky for a sailor to kill one.
For any sailors out there, I have two wren feathers in my collection, highest bidders gets them.


We have been having trouble with Mother overfeeding the cat. I've never met a cat yet that would say no to a third helping of food not even at 3 in the morning which is when she usually overfeeds the moggy.

So the BrickOutHouse has been hiding the tins and only bringing out two for each day. When he went away, he left just the right amount but she overfed the cat and I had to replace two cans of food which I left on the kitchen table. I have a witness, my sister saw the cans.

When she went over later, the cans are missing. BrickOutHouse is feeding the cat, pleased she hasn't been overfed. Sister asks Mother where the two cans went to. She doesn't know but she supposes I took them, after all I take everything else. Dame Joan is waiting in the wings.

I know what she's done. She's so pissed that we hide the cans and she has no control over them that she's hidden the missing two, somewhere in the bedroom, just so she can feed (overfeed) the cat when she feels like it.

I feel sorry for the BrickOutHouse. His other grandmother was operated on yesterday for stomach cancer and she's as mad, if not madder, than this grandmother. Fancy copping a quinella like that.

Monday, March 10, 2008


More of the synchrotron ducks.
Click here to read that a duck's quack does echo. Thank you Lord Hughes for the misinformation. I'm still looking for ducks tongues.

Now you all know the drill, anyone with a nice mother, piss off and don't read any further.

The manipulating old bat has scored another one for the gipper. I will try to tell a cohe(rant) version of the can opener. The same can opener that went missing for months because she put it away with the Bamix because it was the same colour. She was walking around with it in the walker last Thursday and she was going to lend it to a neighbour to use as a demonstration model as said neighbour was going to sell them. Argument starts because we all use it. She says it's hers and she can do what she likes. Phone call later that night demands to know the name of the book because I'm not telling her so she can't give the neighbour the can opener. Book?? The one I get from the company that makes the can opener. What??? You know what I'm talking about. Crap??? The only book I get is Avon. That's the one she says. By this stage I believe Dame Joan Sutherland wouldn't have topped my high C. Time to ring the neighbour. She is going to train as a demonstrator for Tupperware and my mother said no-one uses the can opener so take it but neighbour did offer to pay for it but mother said no, they never use it. This is a $50 can opener we never use. I tell neighbour we use it all the time, no worries she says, I'll demonstrate with mine. Tell old bat next morning that it's Tupperware and put the can opener back in the drawer. "I knew that", she says.

My sister gave her chocolates for her birthday. She told the BrickOutHouse, she didn't really like them but said not to tell his mother. Sister know all this but asks if she liked them. According to the old bat, she didn't get a chance to find out since BrickOutHouse took them off her and ate them. Lying old toad has eaten a 750 gram box of Cadbury's Favourites in two days.

Sister caught her tonight, wandering up the hall with the walker stashed with chicken and pasta salad and two, TWO frozen desserts. She's hungry and has hardly eaten a thing all day. Excuse me, Old Bat. Who was there all day, cooking in the heat, freezing meals and getting your lunch of sandwiches and blueberries mini muffins all between unloading the dryer and dishwasher? Oh yes and she didn't really like the muffins but she'll freeze them in case there's nothing else to eat.
Sister nearly broke her fingers dialing the phone to tell me.

Pardon me while I have another Dame Joan moment. High CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC!

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I was all set to watch the ABC's Catalyst on Thursday when I was interrupted by a loony phone call involving a can opener, a neighbour and an Avon book. Don't ask, I couldn't do the saga justice by trying to blog it. Anyway I missed most of the segment on termites and how geologists are using them to look for minerals. I had read an article about this in New Scientist last year.
A geologist in the 1970s found a speck of ilmenite on the surface in the Kalahari desert. Ilmenite comes from kimberlite and kimberlite has diamonds and the geologist had just discovered the richest diamond deposit in the world, the Jwaneng diamond mine. That speck came from 40 metres down and was hauled to the surface by termites.

Australian researchers are developing techniques to sample termite mounds for traces of gold, diamonds and other minerals. The termites constantly have to repair the mounds to control the temperature and keep out predators so they tunnel down to the water table and bring back clay or wet rock and it's this deep soil that holds whatever traces of minerals. So instead of expensive drilling machines, geologists are using the services of termites for free.
The inside of the mounds is a type of regurgitated mud cement containing organic material, fine rock particles and geologists scan samples for elements such as chromium, titanium, arsenic, all of which can occur in rocks containing gold. The termite tunnels can go down 30 metres or more but researchers are also looking at Spinifex grass.
Chewed up spinifex has been found in the termite mounds and showed signs of mineralization. The spinifex put all their growing effort into sending down roots to groundwater, sometimes 50 metres or more. Sampling the grass shows the chemicals it has taken up with the water and accumulated in the leaves. Spinifex and termites concentrate different minerals but together this provides a geochemical picture of what could be underground. It sounds way out but in the Tanami desert less than 1 per cent of the landscape has rocks exposed above ground and these have revealed some of the largest gold deposits in Australia and since these rocks extend underneath it means that 99 per cent hasn't been sampled. Cue the termites.
The image above is north of the Granites gold mine in the Tanami Desert. It was taken during a combined dust storm and thunderstorm close to sunset. The Sun is wedged between dust and rain cloud.

Friday, March 07, 2008


After nearly two months of saying how she'd like to have the house to herself again, she's getting her wish.

BrickOutHouse is going away with his girlfriend for the long weekend.

So she's ramping up for a decent old whinge.

We've left her all alone, in pain, without being able to even get a meal.

My sister has just given her the meal I prepared on Thursday, one of several.

The pain hasn't stopped her from raiding the fridge and scoffing down half a bucket of ice-cream.

I refuse to walk over tomorrow in 32 degree heat and sit there while she sleeps or like today, while she doesn't sleep.

Whatever we do, it's not what she wants unless it's her idea. Someone should tell her that slavery was abolished.

Once again, apologies to everyone who really likes their mother because I don't give a flying fruitbat about mine.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


The ex-husband was on the phone to my mother this morning for an hour.

Okay given Ma's wonky sense of time, it could have been 10 minutes.

She said she didn't tell him anything about me.

He told her all about his new business venture but didn't mention The Blonde.

He might have rung because he remembered her birthday.

She can't remember what day it is so God knows what she did tell him.

I've got a lot of 'why?' questions running through my head.

Must distract myself. Look look look, my sister's bought an LCD television.

Why would he ring someone he referred to as "The mother-in-law from Hell"?

He probably picked up on the good vibes from Sunday and thought he'd ruin my mood. Damn it's working.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


The birthstone for March is the Aquamarine. I wouldn't mind the Art Deco style ring containing 20 carats of aquamarine shown above. The aquamarine is a member of the beryl family. It's almost entirely free of inclusions unlike its famous green cousin, the emerald. It has a good hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale and a wonderful shine. Iron is the substance which gives aquamarine its colour which ranges from an almost indiscernible pale blue to a strong sea-blue. The more intense the colour, the more value is put on it.

The various colour nuances of aquamarine have melodious names: the rare, intense blue stones from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil, are called 'Santa Maria'. Similar coloured stones from gemstone mines in Africa, particularly Mozambique are given the name "Santa Maria Africana'. 'Espirito Santo' aquamarines from the Brazilian state of that name has a not quite as intense colour as the 'Santa Maria'.

The blue light of the aquamarine is supposed to arouse feelings of sympathy, trust, harmony and friendship. Good feelings which are based on mutuality and prove their worth in lasting relationships. Aquamarine blue is the colour of water with its life-giving force and according to legend, it originated in the treasure chest of fabulous mermaids, and has, since ancient times, been regarded as the sailors' lucky stone. Its name is derived from the Latin 'aqua' (water) and 'mare' (sea). It is said that its strengths are developed to their best advantage when it is placed in water which is bathed in sunlight.

It's also the colour of Bombay Sapphire bottles. The Queen has a fabulous tiara, necklace, earrings and bracelet made of aquamarines given as a gift from the people of Brazil. She has a lot of jewellery, kept in a room about the size of an ice rink and situated 40 feet beneath Buckingham Palace, rumour has it. Her personal jewellery is conservatively valued at $57 million. That's personal, not the Crown Jewells or jewells regarded as belonging to the Throne and destined to be handed on to the next reigning monarch.

I wonder if she ever wanders down to rummage through the goodies?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Behind the Halls of Residence at Monash University, there are eight acres of land with a three acre lake. This is the Jock Marshall Reserve established by Monash's foundation chair of Zoology and Comparative Physiology. This area has been redeveloped to restore the habitats and wetland for research into freshwater ecology, equatic ecosystems and hydrology. The image below is the lake with the sampling piers.

No squealing, you'll frighten the ducklings. I did enough of that when I opened the email from tortoise. They are so cute. Ahem...this is a serious blog. Don't click the image, you'll want to pick them up, really cute.
Thank you tortoise for sending them. They're actually hanging around the back of the Synchrotron where they've colonised the pond and according to tortoise, they like to lick the insects from the Synchrotron windows. So there you are, value for money on the inside and a healthy ecosystem for ducks on the outside.

I don't know how you carnivores can eat them. Cute, fluffy, sweet and they're just so pick-upable.

Monday, March 03, 2008


For the fourth time in a week, my mother has asked me what I want for my birthday.

Resisting the temptation to say, "a funeral", I kept reminding her it was her birthday.

This afternoon the penny drops.

"It's your birthday and I'm not your sister!"

"Oh yes, that's right, you're not my sister."

Give me strength.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Where I had one of these
And I saw three of these.

And I had another sip of this.

Sitting in the shade of gum trees.

While sipping on another glass of this.

I finished up watching roosters multiplying.
Through the bottom of my glass.

Bless Bombay Sapphire.
And Autumn in Melbourne.