Saturday, December 28, 2013

Slag off at youth fashion and it means "OLD"

 Miss O'Dyne sent me this image some time ago when I was drooling on about velvet gowns and at 17 I really wanted to be this sophisticated. At 18 I managed to get the hair right and on my best coat I had an Arctic Fox fur collar. In those far off days of walking and freezing trains and no way of ever owning a car, I needed the warmth and we weren't exactly taught the moral ethics of not killing animals for fashion. The velvet dresses came later, much too late for the kind of lounging that Miss Elegance has perfected. I remembered this photo while I was wandering through the luxury items of Buccellati jewellers and I knew these ruby and diamond earrings would be perfect and of course a matching bracelet to complete the decadence.

Now we can start the bitching. Her straggling hair. Her bra straps. Her shapeless velvet and miles too short dress. Heavy belt, grungy jewellery and "shooties", cross between a shoe and a boot. You see what I mean about "old", it isn't elegant to me. It isn't even good dressing. I would wear that out to get the milk. But that's just me and even if she was my granddaughter I'd never say a word to her face. Behind her back is another matter. What's life when you're old without something to bitch about. At least she hasn't the bad taste to wear my beloved Buccellati rubies with it.

Pink and the air is blue.

Now River you could whip this up in an afternoon in all those bright colours to match your decor.
It doesn't look like it's rigged to actually light up a room but as a statement, it makes one.

Christmas dinner at the Home, what can I say about it......lots......

1. The turkey was well cooked. My mother thought it was pork, the lady next to her thought it was lamb. 
2. A simple onion flavoured gravy and lord knows there are plenty of liquid gravies out there that don't need work just a zap in the microwave.
3. Great long strips of undercooked sauteed onion slapped on top of the meal in a minute amount of liquid does not substitute for gravy, proper gravy. Pardon me, but this is where I step up to my soapbox. These are old people, they don't handle onions very well, small diced, well cooked onions in a lot of sauce, maybe. Not long thick bits of onion they can choke on.
4. An entree is some food that is put on a plate in front of you to eat. It is not thick slices of ham surrounded by tiny (rockhard) gherkins and cocktail onions both of which old people can choke on. That is if they could get to them. Put in the middle of the table secure under cling wrap with no serving tongs made it damn hard unless like Inspector Gadget someone had hidden extendable arms. Eventually the serving boy from the kitchen remember to remove the wrap but still didn't put out tongs. Nobody touched it except  me and I had to use my dessert spoon. 
5. What is the point of writing a menu in flowery language then rolling it up and tying it when most of the residents can't untie anything. Some asked if it was part of the meal.
6. None of the relatives were asked if they would like a glass of wine. I had two bottle of vodka lime and bitters, lucky me. The only drink on the table, in the middle where no-one could reach it, was a jug of ice water. No cordial, no lemonade, no pretty Christmas cups.
7. When the menu says, pudding with custard, trifle and pavlova, I expect them all to appear. The pavlova disappeared into the fridge and wasn't seen again until yesterday when I arrived at the Home to find a piece waiting for me. Now I'm certain the rooms are bugged considering how I went on about it.
8. No coffee was served and no-one was asked if they wanted it.
9. Coffee would have helped the dry crumbly mince pies go down. Crumbs choke old people. What was wrong with thinking ahead and buying the pies with the lattice tops, not so many crumbs and a smaller size.
10. No table cloths because an activities supervisor wasn't rostered on to make sure everything was Christmasy. Actually one was but she was told very rudely, not to bother coming in. She snuck in later to see everybody and caught me in full flight. Them-in-charge too cheap to pay her double time for the day. She would have made a big difference to the atmosphere and made sure all the residents knew what was what.

The idea of a newsletter is to put news in it. That includes a form letting the staff know who is being taken out for the day so that 10 people don't suddenly need to be showered when relatives turn up and ask if they're ready. Next year (I can't believe I said that) I will be having lunch with mum in her room and I'll bring the food with me. Was it worth the $18 I had to pay? Bloody hell NO. And my shit sister did not give me a present again, bitch. I might have bingo wings but she's starting to get turkey neck bwahahahhaha!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Look slowly but closely

 This is the Diga del Cingino dam in Italy.  See those little dots on the wall.

 They are European Ibex and they like to eat the moss & lichen growing on the wall.
They are also licking the salt off the stone.
 I bet they don't ever look down.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fancy something to do after Christmas?

This is clever and something I would never have thought of in a million years to use old glass. How many times have I walked through an op shop and loved a dish or old vase and not bought it as I didn't need it.  Now I know what to do. These are from America and are called garden glass totems.
You can build it up with tea cups and a teapot, glass vases or like the image above, crown it with a glass ornament. Doesn't he look gorgeous?

 Or how about that atrocious Venetian glass bowl you might have been landed with as a wedding present which now can be turned into a bird bath.  The trick is to bury the bottom into the garden to hold it straight and use silicon waterproof glue, the clear stuff.
This is so simple and lovely, bird bath or bird feeder depending on how deep the bowl is. I could cry at all those chipped and cracked glass whatsits that I have tossed out and can never get back. Even cleaning out mum's house there were bowls that went to the op-shop in the de-cluttering. Fortunately I have plenty of op-shops to visit and any glass bits that take my eye now will be coming home.
Even just odd glasses put together and plonked in the ivy to catch the sun would be lovely especially if coloured.  Elephant's Child I can just see something like this popping up with your spring bulbs and River, even your small plot could take a small totem. But Miss O'Dyne, the mad bird lady will have glass bird baths from here to forever and they will all look lovely.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Falling Stars for Christmas Earth

 Geminid Meteors over Teide Volcano
Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN, Earth and Stars)

Explanation: On some nights it rains meteors. Peaking two nights ago, asteroid dust streaked through the dark skies of Earth, showering down during the annual Geminids meteor shower. Astrophotographer Juan Carlos Casado captured the space weather event, as pictured above, in a series of exposures spanning about 2.3 hours using a wide angle lens.
The snowcapped Teide volcano of the Canary Islands of Spain towers in the foreground, while the picturesque constellation of Orion highlights the background. The star appearing just near the top of the volcano is Rigel.
Although the asteroid dust particles are traveling parallel to each other, the resulting meteor streaks appear to radiate from a single point on the sky, in this case in the constellation of Gemini, off the top of the image. Like train tracks appearing to converge in the distance, the meteor radiant effect is due to perspective. The astrophotographer has estimated that there are about 50 Geminids visible in the above composite image.

I meant to post this yesterday but it was just too hot to think and now I'm too tired to think so I just cut and pasted instead of looking up all the places the piece mentions. Great meteor shower though.

Yesterday I fell over, almost over and I can't begin to tell you how ridiculous the whole thing was and all because I didn't move the lamp table 6 inches. I knelt on the footstool to change the powerboard but couldn't see the switch properly so while I was faffing around, the footstool slid one way and I went the other. Fortunately the wall stopped my head and me from falling completely over the footstool. So it was head in wall, bum in air, left arm on couch, right arm on lamp table, one foot on ground and can't remember where the other foot was. I am hurting in a dozen places still but the powerboard is in place because when I pulled myself back up (and there was snivelling and sobbing) I moved the lamp table 6 inches.
IceBear was such a help, sitting beside his empty dish in the kitchen. He and the possums are not getting on together. Possums were back in the kitchen last night, snouts in the kibble. IB was in the tree, higher up than the possums so when they rolled back out with the apples I gave them, he lept from the top branch and the brawling was on. He finally strolled inside at midnight and plonked in front of the fan.
This morning I was back to Southland, early and I swear I had HoChiMinh driving the taxi. I know he's dead but this guy was driving like he had nothing to lose including his life. Bought everything on the list including a bird bell and I was sorely tempting to write in the food register at the Home, fucking bird bell for fucking parrots, but I contented myself with not writing down the custard tart I had for mum. Lunch was pototato gems and left over chicken thingies from their Christmas party, not even a bit of mayonnaise on the side. I was hungry, I ate them. Mother snarfed the custard tart.
Now I don't have to go there until Christmas Day.
I should go out and clean the water dish for the birds after the brawl in it last night but my knees are hurting. I'm trying not to mention the allergy otherwise the urge to scratch will start up again.
And I'm full of sugar. I just ate the most luscious piece of berry and almond nougat I've ever had, good stuff, it even had rice paper on it so it wouldn't stick to the wrapper. I will be good for dinner, sourdough and olive bruschetta with tomatoes and mozzarella and feta cheese. Then the jewelled Christmas Tree is being made. Hopefully I'll have photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Back from extinction

Known as the Spiral Saw, the Helicoprion is said to have lived during the Carboniferous period and was one of the few creatures able to live through the Permian-Triassic extinction event (‘The Great Dying’). Eventually the Helicoprion went extinct during the Triassic period. It had teeth like a circular saw, connected on the lower jaw. As new teeth grew, the older teeth were pushed out and into the middle to create the spiral. Length-wise the creature was said to be 10-15 feet.

Pardon me, but it does remind me of Canberra politicians. Big mouth, enough teeth to chew up and spit out the poor unfortunate beings on it's target list like the poor, ill, disabled or blue collar worker.

It's nice to see that one ex-politician has fallen on her feet after losing her seat to a much better woman.
Sophie Mirabella has been appointed to the board of the government-owned naval shipbuilding firm ASC Pty Ltd. Note the "government-owned", wonder how long before they're looking for a buyer.
The firm's been having a bit of trouble with their Air Warfare Destroyer and Collins Class submarine and along with her appointment and her expertise to who knows what about ship building, the government also announced a review of the Air Warfare Destroyer programme.
Senator Cormann and Defence Minister David Johnston said in a statement there were "clearly issues associated with this important programme" but blamed the problems on the former Labor government. Quel surprise!
Mrs Mirabella will be serving a three year term on the board unless they junk the whole thing and she gets another handout along with the handout she received when she (oh sob) lost her seat in Parliament.

That giant gobbed fish should be the LNP mascot.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Concentration terminated by 'Oooh Shiny'

I was looking for Christmas cakes for my usual post a Christmas thingy in the run up to pudding season and I was sidetracked by these cakes. I mean the work, the imagination and where would you start cutting and would you want to. Click the biggie button for this one.
This was sort of Indian meets peacock and paisley. Overdone? But I loved the colours. Reminds me of my groom and his party at the Church before the reception.
A birdhouse cake was to divine to pass by. Paint the birds as robins and whack some holly and berries on the cake. Ditch the green roof for sparkly snow icing and Christmas cake. 

 I had to put this in. My grandmother iced my aunt's wedding cake in this manner but without the top bunch of flowers. She also baked the cakes in wood fired oven in the pans my grandfather made. He also made the wooden stand for the cake. I kept a pot plant on that stand for years, he made everything to last. The cake is frivolous but the artistry is wow.

I was really struck by this one for the audacity of having emerald. Tradition has it that one must ask the fairies for permission to wear their colour green at any wedding or it will end in tears. Come to think of it, my bridesmaids wore pale apple green dresses. I really wanted an elegant wedding, I got a bogan booze-up before the word was even invented.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I didn't vote for them

Well good old Environment Minister Greg Hunt has approved projects that will mangle our Great Barrier Reef. Take a good look at the photo, it might be the last pristine look we'll get.

let me see, dredging 3 million cubic metres of spoil which will be dumped in the reef's waters all for the development of three coal export terminals at Abbot Point.
He also approved the building of a new coal terminal at Abbot Point by Indian mining giant Adani and we all know how environmentally conscious Indian mining giants are.
And a new processing plant for coal seem gas on Curtis Island. That project has dredging of 1.4 million cubic metres of crap at Port Curtis and the mouth of the Calliope River near Gladstone. The icing on the cake there is a proposed pipeline to the plant.

Mr Hunt said he had imposed 148 strict environmental conditions on the developments.
The reef already has a problem with water quality from farm runoff which is damaging corals, sea grass and marine habitats.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche welcomed the decision and said it confirm that industry could co-exist with the reef. 

Oh Yeah, let's hear from the Tourism Minister and what he thinks.

I signed the petition to stop this along with a lot of other people but obviously we're just a lot a reef huggers and nutters.
I didn't vote for them, I'm going to have a button made and wear it.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Legends of the Guardian

The IceBear, great guard cat of the house. Here he is guarding the rubbish on the floor and filling up the vacant space in front of the heater. 
Last night he was at his usual outdoor post at the front gate, hiding behind the black mesh because he doesn't think anyone can see him. I could until twilight disappeared. 
When I heard clinking in the kitchen I just thought he'd come in for a snack before guard duty again. Ah, that would be no, he's still at the front gate and mummy possum and baby were munching away in the kitchen. Baby nibbling the turkey and mummy scoffing kitty kibble and these are horse size kibble bits.
They both shot out of the house and up the apple tree so I cut up some apples and threw them out of the door. I would have gone out and put them nicely under the tree except for the spider who had spun a web from the apple tree to the recycle bin and up to the spouting. So I had to throw very gently to the tree so I wouldn't break the web.
WonderBlunder comes around the corner and goes for the apple, I mean, food is food. And finds himself nose to nose with mummy possum. He runs....the wrong way. He goes all the way around the house to where he started and comes in the back door to an empty dish which I get to fill again.
The night before, on guard duty again, he doesn't notice the black fuzzy cat sneak down and come in the back door and start on his food until I roared. 
And did I say I thought the huntsman spider was a fast mover, roaming the house and claiming territory? I picked him up in the bedroom and popped him outside.  Found the other one in the laundry, much bigger and now disappeared. Believe me the washing is getting a good shake before going in the machine because if I open the lid and some shiny squeaky clean bloody huntsman throws himself at me, I won't make Christmas.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Whoop whoop and away.

 This is the Whooping Crane which stands five feet tall with a seven-foot wingspan and is the subject of a heartwarming story for the Christmas season.
The poor bird is still on the highly endangered list but have several wildlife refuges and dedicated researchers looking after them.
The researchers have found that like humans, survival wisdom is passed down the generations but if there are not enough old birds to teach things like how to migrate to warm Florida for the winter then the substitutes stand in.


This odd looking individual is dressed in a crane suit and he is standing in as parent to the young chick. Not only do they dress in costume but adhere to a strict no-talking rule to ensure the birds remain wild.
 The fake crane leads on the ground but also by using ultralight aircraft teaches the migration route.
The birds migrate back without guidance in the spring.

Researchers monitored the age, size and kinship of all birds that weren't led by a human, between 2002-9.
The team found that the age of the oldest individual in the group improved the migration accuracy by deviating less from the straight path. 
The article didn't mention what sex, only age, but it has to be female flying straight, you know males and their sense of direction.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

I've always said we have the right PM for the time.

Remember Mal and his "Life wasn't meant to be easy". Okay so we all know he's been misquoted over the years but he'll never live this down.

Remember Paul and his "The recession we had to have."

And now we have good old Tones who has ruined my post by doing another back-flip but I'll post it anyway. Dear Lord I can see my Father, if he was with us, just throwing the whole tv through the window.
"We are going to keep the promise we made, not the promise that some people thought we made or the promise that some people might have liked us to make. We are going to keep the promise that we actually made".

So do we have the right PM for the time?  Oh gawd no, we're all doomed.

A mother visit today and more insanity.  She was in bed, breathless which is a worry and I noticed a large red blotch on her face. After an hour I noticed that there were two red lines running from it down to her jaw. Asked her if her face was hurting, yes it was. Then tells me the story of the resident in the opposite bed who flapped her fan last night and walloped a moth straight into mum's face. At first she thought it had gone into her eye and she did say it was painful then. She was more worried that the moth had dropped into the bed. I can only think that the moth had pollen on it and the old girl is extremely allergic to pollen. Doc Marvin visits tomorrow morning but I made sure the office came and checked and noted it. They had a small ice pack to stop the swelling which helped.
But stupid me, who had the camera in my bag didn't take a photo. I should know by now to get proof. It'll make Doc Marvin's day, only my mother could get taken out by a low flying moth.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Groundhog Week.

Mother is not well, ho jolly ho!  Pardon me while I don't care. I don't care because the exact same time last year mother was not well.  I ran around in circles making sure she was comfortable etc, etc and by the 10th she was sitting up making Christmas cards as though nothing had happened. So this year I'm not caring. I was there on Friday and did it matter that I was not feeling the best, no, the orders came thick and fast.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of my father's death and I'm hoping she doesn't remember or I'll get a sobbing phone call.
The Home which was always a pleasant place is not so anymore. They had a Residents and Relatives meeting on Wednesday and I had my list of complaints ready to go except I didn't get a notice that it was on. How strange!  Three times on Friday I had to get up and move the bed control and emergency bell back within mother's reach. The next carer to swing it out of the way and not put it back was going to get a mouthful. It's called thinking of the resident but they don't seem to have it in their skulls.
Definitely not going to the Christmas Party, far too close to a full moon and mother could not sit up that long in the wheel chair. The pain in her back needs more painkillers. I need a rest from Mother.
I need a rest from my sister, snivelling about how much the bank account has gone down and do I have to keep buying dvds for the old girl, yes, it keeps her off the phone to me. This really pissed me off considering how much she won over the Cup Carnival and spent on herself.
I have found I can still sew although I must take breaks and I can still paint but not draw, holding a pencil really cranks up the pain in the index finger so it's just a matter of doing one and tracing it off. Like last year, expect the cards sometime in the future, how much can I do in 23 days.
Lovely to see Miss O'Dyne for 15 minutes because I had called a cab to take me guess where. She left a bag of lovely jars to paint, lovely big pantry jars. 
I also have next year's diary to cover, 3 boxes and 3 other books. I've saved them to do all at once because the pain in the hands is going to need an icepack around both for 24 hours.
And just to top off all the other aches and crap, I put my foot down on the escalator just in time to have the next step come up and scrap the skin off the back of my leg.  Add that to the cat/Jasmine rash and you have one very bad tempered bitch.
I know this is probably a bit late for HighRiser's Christmas cake but I always cut at least 6 layers of newspaper to put over the top of the tin, not on the cake, but over the tin to stop any burning. My oven is a very hot one on the top shelf, too cool on the bottom so this always worked for me. Keeping the fruit in plonk for at least 4 weeks always had me worried about the oven just exploding from the fumes. 
You know where I'm going for Christmas lunch but then I'm coming home to quietness. I have too many memories of Christmases Past, some I never want to re-visit. 
I suppose when I visit Southland tomorrow those damn songs will be going full blast. Another reason for the quiet on the 25th.