Sunday, February 28, 2010


The famous Hope Diamond, the stone of legend and curse. It was thought to be originally from India and at one time was part of the Crown Jewells of France, known as the "French Blue". It disappeared during the Revolution turning up 20 years later, cut down to this size.

It is supposed to be cursed but it's generally thought that Pierre Cartier played this up when trying to sell the jewell to Evalyn Walsh McLean. She liked gems with a history but she didn't like the setting so after the sale, the diamond was mounted as a headpiece on a three tiered circlet of large diamonds. Later it was made into a pendant and attached to the diamond necklace as it is today. It was owned by the Hope family for most of the 19th Century.
If it wasn't cursed then Evalyn was certainly an unlucky woman. Her husband left her and died in an asylum and two of her children died young.

Jeweller Harry Winston bought the diamond after her death in 1947 and donated it to the Smithsonian in 1958. Last year, for the fiftieth anniversary of that donation, the diamond was removed from it's setting.
Three new modern settings were drafted and the final selection was decided by public voting. It will be unveiled in April, 2010.

The first design by Maurice Galli is called a Journey of Hope symbolizing the American experience of uniting Hope and Opportunity.
Gallli's second design, Embracing Hope, has three ribbon rows of of baguette diamonds hugging the Hope in the centre.
Rie Yatsuki created the third design, Renewed Hope. The dangling diamonds recall the flow of water in nature.
After a limited time in its new setting, the Hope will be returned to its heritage setting.
The diamond was thought to be unique in emanating a strong reddish-orange glow after being exposed to ultra violet light. Researchers discovered that almost all blue diamonds glow after exposure. These blue diamonds get their colour from traces of Boron and this interacts with nitrogen and UV to give the stones a glow of bluish-green overlaying a red phosphorescence.

With the difference between colour and duration of glow, researchers can use this as a diamond fingerprint to distinguish between fake and real stones. It could track stolen diamonds even if they've been re-cut.

The Hope Diamond weighs 45.52 carats.
It has a length of 25.60mm, a width of 21.78mm and depth of 12.00mm.
It's a cushion cut antique brilliant with a faceted girdle and extra facets on the pavillion.
Its clarity classification is VS1 with a whitish graining.
Its colour is a fancy dark grayish blue.
In its pendant shape, it is surrounded by 16 white pear-shaped and cushion cut diamonds. The necklace chain contains 45 white diamonds.

Friday, February 26, 2010


A lot and is on going.
Found out why (in part) the computer has been so slow. When IE8 downloaded and installed itself, in uninstalled IE7 so when I ditched IE8, I ended up with what was left, IE6. Thank you to the website that pointed this out to me.

The print spooler problem is still with me but I just go in to 'my computer' and start it up. Now that IE8 is with
me maybe Microsoft will finally fix it.

I've had a lovely time losing and finding toolbars, menu bars, helpful google rubbish I don't need.
Now somewhere along the line, a box popped up with print size and stupid me clicked medium. I now need a microscope to read the Daily Mail. (Antikva, I can hear you sniggering from Benders) Just email and tell me how to go back.

Thank you to River who sent me the coding instructions for the DVD and it worked. My 'Serenity' is back on the big screen.

Thank you to the Bwca who plays Ebay like a violin and found me the special edition of The Jewel in the Crown for mother's birthday.

Speaking of mother, she has ordered a seat belt for the wheel chair so she doesn't fall out going down hills.

As for the cat, she has a new dish, expensive food and a slave.
She also has sharp claws and this morning missed the window ledge in the lounge room and like a cartoon cat slid to the carpet and shredded the voile curtains.

As for the putting away of things, there are bits of carpet that haven't seen the light of day since before Christmas and I'm really motivated by the pile of lovely new books that can't be read until the clean-up is finished. Motivation is a 400 page book on Tiaras.

Now if I could just find that print button I'd be happy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Well maybe I overdid the rage, no I didn't because I'm still raging.
I found all the film soundtracks I wanted plus the 25th anniversary edition of 'The Jewell in the Crown' for mother's 80th birthday on a website called

I even managed to convert pounds to Aus dollars, got out the credit card and started to fill out the details and the morons, stupid stupid dumb poms don't send to Australia.

@#%%#& and a lot of other swearing.

We took their bloody convicts.

Their government is in debt up to their eyeballs and they don't want good Aussie dollars.



I watched the final of the ice dancing last night and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada truly deserved the Gold Medal. It was technically difficult but so elegant to watch as they performed to Mahler's Symphony No. 5. What made it easier to watch were their pared down costumes compared to the Americans and Russians who had too many frou-frou flapping things that took away from their performances. Instead of watching them, I ended up watching the flippy bits of material going every which way and made their performances look messy which they weren't.

I've found it hard going to watch the ice skating no thanks to Channel 9 who slotted the performances in any old spot. The remote got a real work out but I still missed just about everything. I can't stand the ads which go on forever and I can't stand watching the 'hosts' waffle on about nothing. I was actually nostalgic for Bruce McAveny (sp?). But catching this one performance was worth the channel switching.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


This journey to the past is never ending but at least I have saved you from another scanned photograph.

It would have been my father sitting behind his prized possession, the TV TRAY. In caps because that's the way he thought of it. Coming home from the races on a winter's night, footy on the telly, fire on and his tea on a tray, he was in luxuryland.

So, we had a fight. I can't think what we would be fighting about at 8 a.m. when I was on the way out the door to the bus stop. I mean we were both so volatile we tended to keep a lid on things, going off to snarl in corners. My sister was a different kind of fish. She sulked, she could have sulked for Australia in the Olympics so with her, Dad sulked. They would go on for weeks until Mum did her block. But I'd explode and so would he.

The bus stop was right outside the house so I calculated the distance and flew out the door, having the last word as I went.

It must have been a good last word as he picked up his precious tray and threw it through the front door at me. He missed.

I did the only thing possible. I turned around and jumped on his tray. I flattened it to the grass.
And ran for the bus wondering how old one had to be for joining the French Foreign Legion.

He took the battered and broken creature inside and asked Mum if she thought I'd come home that night.

He rang about 3 and said Mum wanted to know if I'd be home for tea.

He was eating his tea from a brand new tray.

"Nice tray," I said. "Got it on Special." he said.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Yes, they do evoke karma on anyone stupid enough to mock the hairy legged ones.

I've been watching one roam the ceilings of this house for weeks. I thought he might have fried himself by hiding in the downlight but not with the energy saving bulbs.

So he finally ended up in the bathroom, hopefully chewing on a few thousand silverfish. I drew the line at having a shower with him scootling round the ceiling above me. He decided the curtains might be a nice home, good, I could see his shadow with the sun behind.

Saturday morning and I reach the the handle of the toilet door but it's grown legs. He was around the door and up the wall before I could do anything. Back into the curtains. Back up in the corner where it's impossible to get him. So it was open the door, bang on the wall and check for hairy legs.

Sunday night, the same routine, the same corner. Early Sunday morning about 2 a.m., the cat wakes me for food. I have to do something about that cat's internal clock so I go to the loo and unusually for me, I turn on the light. It's nothing for me to wander around the house with no lights on. Do the ceiling check, okay we're right, he's gone.

Gone where? Well, where else but the toilet seat, sitting there with its little hairy legs gripped to the edge. I'm busting, he ain't moving and he's staring at me. I flipped him with the duster and he copped a squirt of flyspray on the way to the floor.

Here I am, duster and huge can of flyspray, I'm the danger so why did he have to charge across the floor, straight down the valley of death rode the hairy legs. I did a reasonable impression of Micheal Flatly and hairy legs shot into the bathroom where he got another belt of spray.

Did I mention I was busting and all the jigging around wasn't helping so gratefully I reclaimed my throne. Now to wash hands and dispose of deadylegs.

He's goooooooooone.

You can bet I'll be shaking out the towells for the next month.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


That's Aunt Selma on the right and mother on the left. I think they were about 15 in this photo.
I've finally dumped all those magnetic albums in the rubbish. I'm now down to keeping the very clear old photos where you can actually see faces. I'm getting sick of it now so all the boxes and empty slip albums are going to get shoved in the cupboard until a rainy afternoon in July.

Dear Aunt Selma isn't coming down for their birthdays in March. Instead she's decided to hold an open house for all her friends to come and see her. Mum's really cut up about it....not. She's planning on her own celebration for getting to 80 years but it will be at the home and hopefully I won't be involved in any way except walking through the front door.

I've posted the deposit cheque for the gold plated and diamond encrusted wheelchair. That could be the only reason for the cost. I did ask if she had been supervised while filling out the customising sheet and they said the physio helped her with it. It's a shame they didn't ask the girls who actually push her in it as I was told yesterday that there was at least $900 worth that wasn't needed. So the standard price of about two and a half thousand dollars went up to $5,647.00. I didn't ask if a contract was signed but I've heard from others that if you make a fuss, your name goes to the bottom of the list and it's a 6 week wait or more from when the deposit is received. So it's making her happy even if it isn't there for her birthday and I'm not about to rock the boat.

She is in the happy phase of dementia where nothing bothers her as long as she is in her routine.
I proved this yesterday by making her miss Bingo to talk to me. She got very fidgety and wasn't happy until Bingo finished and her mates came over to talk and the routine was re-established.
This morning she was out with her walker to make arrangements for the train to Mordialloc and check out a party shop on the main drag of Mentone where I found the gold doillies she wanted. Connex would never allow more than 4 wheelchairs to get on the train as it slowed down the service, OH CHORTLE, but Metro is allowing the six residents to go, otherwise it's two days out and there aren't enough volunteers to do this.

I get to stay home until Friday afternoon or even Saturday morning, colour me happy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


It's every mother's right to embarrass her offspring.
In my case, it was Christmas morning when, for years I would appear as something diabolically Christmassy to hand out gifts.
To every one in the street, that is out in the open air where I could be seen from space.
It became the custom to have a bbq breakfast on somebody's nature strip before we all drifted off to whatever hellhole Christmas dinner was being held that year.
This is actually one of my more non-elaborate outfits.
Don't you wish you'd had me as a mother?

Friday, February 12, 2010


It's frightful but I promise not to put up anymore until I read the instructions for the scanner, which I've had for 4 years and not opened the instruction book or taken the virtual tour. It's on my list to do.

But this belongs to one of those great bonding moments of family life. The final farewell to the outdoor dunny. The sewerage pipes had already gone through along the fence which is why the OD looks a bit respectable in 1967. We were the last in the street to be connected and we didn't have much choice since they threatened to sue us. I don't know where Dad got the money from but he got it.

If we get into the Wayback Machine for 15 years, the picture would look a lot different. No houses behind the fence and in front of the fence 3 huge willow trees trying valiently to soak up drainage water from every other house in the street, ours being the lowland. The race horse lived here for a time. Never a need for laxettes when a huge horse decides to open the door and say hello. There was a fence right alongside the OD to keep him in, insert horse laugh here, the beast would simply lie down and roll under it and one night managed to jump the front fence, the only hurdle he ever went over and trotted back to his former stable.

Back to the OD. Spiders on the rafters, under the seat fighting with earwigs, snails walking under the door. A log of wood by the seat, bang three times to drop the wildlife to the ground and hope you were finished by the time they made it back home. That path in front in 1967, was made of bricks dug firmly in, back in the days it was wooden blocks which floated all over the yard whenever we had a storm. Don't forget this was a quarter acre block and the OD was way down the yard. It amazes me now that father would lock up the house to keep us safe but let us walk to this hell hole in the pitch black while he went back to bed.

Now the little fence at the front usually had some vine growing to hide the door as the neighbourhood grew around us. There was another fence at the side to hide it from the house and it was as high as possible. Mum would grow green beans or sweet peas in order to gentrify the fibro sheeting. It's almost impossible to see but high up on the left hand corner is a patch over the fibro. Sister was a gymnast and the only flat beam to practise on was the top of this fence and we're talking some 6 or more feet off the ground but every afternoon she'd be up there balancing and jumping. This was fine except for the day she slipped and one foot went through the wall and one foot stayed on the fence. My father standing there, with hands in pockets and smile on face said, "That was a good move. How do you get down?". We boarded the hole up since too much moonlight coming in at night had a tendency to show up the spiders.
This was always a dilemma, go in blind and trust or strike a match to see where they were and how many.

Then there was the dunnyman or maybe he deserves capitals, DunnyMan. Many a time we would be standing at the bus stop waiting for the school bus only to see bus and noxious cart come round the corner together and race neck and neck to our stop. The prayers we prayed that the bus would get to us first. Even worse was having one late and the other early and the whole bus would watch with interest as DM, flat hat and spills would trot out with the can.

Let us not forget the creeping out at midnight during holidays so father could dig a hole behind the OD and empty the can before any embarrassing bum contact with contents happened. He got round this by meeting the DM at the pub and exchanging notes ensured a double visit during holidays.

So comes the great day when we are to be connected. We should have had a red ribbon to be cut. Father says there's not enough room in the bathroom and that's opposite the front door so in his own 'Castle' moment, he decides to build a toilet room on the side of the house. Concrete patio, a roof to the door, two windows, a hand basin, full length mirror, carpet, wallpaper and a porcelain throne with a flip up seat. He stopped Mum from going over the top with a small chandelier but gave in after two cheap plastic light covers melted and fell on his head. A pretty glass one went up.
We supervised every inch of the building. We'd gather round the door each night to see how much longer we'd have to wait. The trek down the back became longer and I was sure I'd die of spider bite before entering the holy of holies. As the last curtain went up and the seat came down, Buckingham Palace couldn't have compared with our new toilet, that is toilet, dunny was never to be heard again.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


To get the full effect of this ocean, just do the clicky thing and go wow!

The photo was taken from the bridge of the research vessel Knorr during a storm in the Denmark Strait, October 7, 2007. The waves were whipped up by 55 knot to high 60 knot winds. These huge seas had stove in a steel container mounted on the starboard side and another wave had carried away one of the 2,000-pound mooring balls strapped to a stout rack welded to the deck. The straps didn't tear, the wave riped out the welds.

The Denmark Strait separates Iceland from the East coast of Greenland by 250 miles of water.
South of the Strait is the Irminger Sea which is the windiest stretch of salt water on the globe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I remember the red roses and had to keep my mouth shut because I had no front teeth. My Aunt's wedding and there's a Patsy Kline song that instantly takes me back to the reception. You would think I'd at least remember the food but I was always too crook to eat.

This photo is only 6cm by 8cm which is why it's so hard to scan. My mother is in the middle and my father is to her left. Of all the men here, (nine) he was the only one to survive TB. The surgery was pretty basic in those days. They would dislocate the shoulder, take out a few ribs and whatever of the diseased lung they could or the whole lung. Then the patient would wake up with a brick on the shoulder to stop it dislocating again. And would you believe they still all smoked cigarettes. Stopping the smoking let Dad put on weight, enough to give him strength to go through the operations. My mother walked into his ward, carrying his breakfast and he said, "Hello Angel" and Barbara Cartland couldn't have written a better start to a love story.


I was told I would fall flat out when everything was settled but, hey, I can handle that.
I can't.
The migraine has been followed by total inertia.
The only reason the bed will be made tonight is because I dragged all the cat be-furred sheets off it this morning. I did change the doona cover, took 40 minutes to do that.
I moved one piece of furniture.
I talked the mowerman into taking out the bins for me.
I fed the birds.
I fed the cat, twice.
I had breakfast about midday.
I don't remember when I last had a shower.
I do remember when I cleaned my teeth, I threw up in the basin, bloody migraine.
I am surrounded by things I must do but can't be bothered summoning up the energy.
In my mind everything has magically sorted itself into its proper place without any trouble but the reality is that they're still sitting on the floor.
I don't want chocolate.
I don't want a G&T.
I don't even want ice-cream.
Why am I in the pit?
Because the whole ghastly parade of my life is in photographs that I've inherited from mother. Every time I pick up another page to keep or throw out, there I am in the middle of another miserable memory. My mother said I was a quiet child, always sitting in a corner if we went out. Did she ever think to fucking ask why I did this? I was terrified of everything around me, people, noise, new places, kids being kids, cruel mostly.
So what does this have to do with now?
Buggered if I know but it's great therapy to tear up photos.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Tip toe to the centre of the stage.

Raise the red curtains.


AND THE FAT LADY SINGS......................

Oh, I just hope I'm not being premature with the celebrations.
The bank accounts are closed.
The pension transferred to St. George.
The final account from SE Water has arrived.
The Will has been signed and solicitor paid.

I think it's all finished. I can start shredding papers. I can think about getting a life.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Well, not quite but if you could have seen a little old lady dressed in pink, holding a pink Japanese parasol, waving a white and silver fan being driven down the streets of Mentone today then those images are what she would have looked like. Fortunately for me I can't push the wheelchair because it's too big and heavy but I was the one running in front listening to a string of commands. There were four wheelies heading for the garden cafe, just one of their haunts for cake and coffee. Next week they're off to the Sportsman's Club in Mordialloc. They've given up trying to have fish and chips at the pier and there goes my dream of seeing mother beating off seagulls with her pink parasol.
I did have an absolute brainwave on the way to the cafe as it's halfway between the home and her solicitor, so I rang to see if her will was ready. It was, the secretary came down, she witnessed it, one of the social workers witnessed it and one more thing is off the list.
AGL has given me a 53 cent credit for the gas bill. There's no way I can collect a stupid amount like that but just think of how many households have given up 53 cents and those money grabbers are way out in front.
I've put loads of loot in her home trust account, more credits on her mobile and the only thing that would make her more happy is to take my shiny homyped shoes off my feet. I'll try them on her on Sunday and if they fit, I'll buy her a new pair. After all a geisha has standards.
She has developed an allergy on her face and the nurses can't work out what from but with all the wind we've been having, she only needs a spot of pollen on her skin to start something up. It's why we never take her flowers or give her perfume so the girls are checking the rooms for any pollen type flowers. I'm glad I didn't listen to family and bought her the mobile, just being able to ring me last night made her feel better especially after the third call.
The daughter of the new lady in the room still doesn't get the message about personal space. The nurse I spoke to tonight said that there were far too many visitors in the room last night, not only was my mother ill and tired but new lady was exhausted as well. I really hate to have to put it in writing and make an official complaint as I'm not the one in the room but the directors have noticed and now that I've spoken up, will quietly have a word.
So after all my doing good things all day, I came a cropper. I might have paid off mum's credit card but I forgot to close it down, jeepers charges! If her pension goes into St George tomorrow then I can go and close cheque and credit card down. How stupid to think because it was paid off that it went away. I plead stress and hysteria.
Only two letters to come, Dept. of Ageing and the final water account and I'm finished. What a bloody nightmare.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


That's the name Van Cleef and Arpels have given this one off piece of jewellery. The centre stone is a six point, twenty-one carat mauve sapphire surrounded by smaller mauve sapphires and diamonds. I would love to see this particular sapphire up close and personal, just to see if it glows like this. Twenty one carats of mauve loveliness and that is one big chunk of rock that could only be carried to perfection by a large red-headed tart with champagne tastes on beer money.