Thursday, January 31, 2008

Do People Really fall for this?

"Dear Friend,
Compliment of the season to you & your Family.
I have been waiting for you since to contact me for your loaded ATM CARD of $1,000,000,00 United States Dollars as received from our corresponding financial institution,you can withdraw the money in any ATM MACHINE in any part of the world, worldwide location but I did not hear from you since that time ,Then I went and deposited the package with International Express Delivery company ,Accra-Ghana before I traveled out of the country for a short Course and I will not come back till end of Three Months.

What you have to do now is to contact the Protocol Dispatching Officer of the International Personal Express Delivery Service Company,Accra-Ghana as soon as possible to know when they will deliver your package to you because of the expiring date. For your information, I have paid for the delivering fee,Insurance fee and Clearance Certificate Fee of the ATM CARD showing that it is not a Drug Money nor to sponsor Terrorist attack in your Country.

The only money you will send to the International Personal Express Service Delivery Company in order to facilitate the delivery of your ATM CARD direct to your door step Address in your country is (USD$125) One Hundred And Twenty Five United States Dollars only being their Security Keeping Fee of the International Express Delivery Service Company so far.

Again, Don't be deceive by anybody to pay any other money except $125 USD,I would have paid that but they said no, because they don't know when you will contact them and in case of demurrage. You have to contact the International Express Delivery Service Company now for the delivery of your ATM CARD package with this contact information below:

Contact officer: MR.JACKSON ADDO
Telephone: +233-274904848

Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your full name, your Postal address or your home address and Direct telephone number to them again to avoid any mistake on the Delivery address.

Note that their service is 24hrs express delivery service by their accredited Airline to your country.
Let me repeat again, try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail to avoid any further delay and remember to pay them their Security Keeping fee of $125 USD for their immediate action.

You should also Let me know through email as soon as you receive your ATM CARD. As a matter of facts, make sure as the rightful beneficiary of the ATM CARD package of $1,000,000,00,you must contact them by indicating the code (2654828) to enable them deliver the ATM package as they have it in their record.

Your urgent positive acknowledgment will facilitate the successful delivery of your ATM CARD.

Yours Faithfully,

What rock do these creeps crawl out from under?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wombat Stew

Some local women formed a community group in our area 18 months ago, and some firm friendships were forged amongst them. I was in at the beginning, but left when the inevitable happened and one woman in particular took control. I had firmly stated at the very beginning that I would leave if that happened and leave I did. I stomped off into the sunset, and took time out for a year.

It was a bit of a relief because it had taken up much more time than I really wanted to put in.
Although I kept in touch with most of them elsewhere, I haven't participated in the group since.

That naughty 'controlling' person bravely came to my home before Christmas, full of apologies and asking me to return. Probably my accident and a reluctance to get sucked back into the vortex again held me back, but finally I relented yesterday and went to their craft day.

Around ten of us sat outside under the shade of a large tree, having salad rolls and coffee, chatting and catching up.

Susan is a wild life carer and presently has two six month old wombat babies. These roly poly little creatures were passed around for cuddles in their knitted woolen sacks. At that age, they are smooth, shiny coated and plump. The little girl was very outgoing, and the boy was shy and retiring.
If you patted her on the behind, she would bounce around like a ball against your hands, chewing your shoes and nibbling your ankles.

These babies become orphaned usually by a road accident, when the dead mother's pouch is checked and there is a tiny baby inside. They are milk fed and kept safe until they grow to the size of a small dog, then slowly adjusted to life in the wild.

Such cute babies!

"Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself. "
... Harriet Nelson

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Power of a Young Brain

My daughter has begun her new teaching post at a nearby secondary college, and I took care of her eight old (nearly nine) son overnight and today. He begins at his new school tomorrow. He had stubbed his foot badly last week, with a suspected broken toe or two, so needed to be kept mostly stationary for the day.

He asked me to give him some Photoshop lessons, so apart from a drawing session and a DVD movie "Son of the Mask", we spent a few hours playing on the laptop, and having great fun.

It has taken me thousands of hours of practice with a huge instruction book and virtually no assistance, to be able to get Photoshop up and 'boogying'. I can
easily do what I need to do now, although there are so many more skills that could be learned. As with many programs, there are different ways to attack a problem and still get results whichever way you choose. Photoshop is definitely one of those.

I have given a few lessons to friends over the years, and found it surprisingly difficult to get the most basic skills across. This young man's capacity to absorb so many details, and remember them, was absolutely amazing.

He's gone home to get the program put onto his computer, and he will show his grownups a thing or two. Good on him!

A terrific first effort

"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives."
... Clay P. Bedford

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Requiem for a Grand Old Camera

After around eight years of service and seventeen thousand photos, my dear old Nikon Coolpix has finally died.

It took a heavy drop off a motorbike maybe seven years ago, which necessitated a AU$600 dollar repair, but afterwards kicked back into work with nary a backward glance.

I paid a lot for it then, around AU $1200, but it has earned its keep with so many years of beautiful clear photos.

The motor that sends the lens out began making grinding noises a few days back, so I was prepared. As I was taking photos of my little grandson last night, I ran out of hands to steady him, and hold the camera, and it took a short tumble. That just hurried the process on and it jammed and died.

The absolute perfection of a small child

I'm sure a replacement will cost far less, but it will be hard to change over after such a long time. Nikon still makes their Coolpix, but they can now come in 12.1mp, which is enormous compared to my then huge, but now not, 3.4mp. I do like the shape of the camera, which has a wonderful hand grip design.

I will investigate further and ask all my friends.

I love Clouds....

"Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?"
... Author Unknown

Friday, January 25, 2008

Story from Hell

I read the other day from the US that starving animals were being found regularly in homes deserted by mortgage defaulters.

The recent property crash there has created 'jingle mail', where the mortgagees put their house keys in an envelope and post off to the Banks, etc, then just walk away from their homes.

But some are leaving their animals locked inside, so when the house is finally opened perhaps weeks later, their dogs or cats have starved to death. Carpets, door frames are chewed and scratched in desperation before the slow slide to death.

I wonder whether there is a pay back factor in such cruel behaviour, where the bank has the horrible job of cleaning up.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Clean Children

Big bath and clip up for all three poodles today, in preparation for being somewhat disabled for a while soon. It's not often I get them all done on the same day; it's such a big job. They love it when it's all over (and so do I!).

Dear, funny old Connor ~ A bit blind and deaf, and so self indulgent at nearly fourteen.

Lily and Zara ~ my two beautiful ladies.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Knees Up

A trip to the surgeon yesterday to discuss treatment for my damaged knee, resulted in a planned arthroscopy in the near future for torn cartilage.

This man is quite intimidating, and I don't intimidate easily any more. He is tall, skinny, with a permanent lean forward, as if his tallness needs to be moderated, or that he is always on a mission in a hurry. He ploughs through his patients with rapid fire efficiency, dispensing only as much information as he thinks we need to know.

I know from the MRI report that I also have a cyst in the cartilage, which will need to be drained and repaired, but he didn't mention that. I am just assuming that he will get in there and have a good look around. I mentioned that my knee was 'clunking alarmingly', and he queried that, and I dismissed it. I'm pathetic!

Anyway, I limped out of there, a tragic diminished husk, hoping that he would discover the extent of the damage in the fullness of time. But I am angry at myself, as I knew how he would be, and I had pre-determined to overcome it.

He has agreed to take the plate out of my wrist at the same time, so long as an x-ray shows it has healed. The plate is set so high in the wrist joint it stops it from flexing properly, so must come out. My thumb, which I wondered was broken in the accident, still looks pretty flakey, but it's no longer as desperately painful, so must be healed by now.

On the way home, we stopped for an x-ray, which shows to my amateur eyes that the break has healed well.

Onwards and upwards .........

I'm off to a funeral today, for a man who I have always called a 'rascal', and even his funeral notice said he was a 'scallywag'.

Mack loved the ladies, probably too much, as his wife called it quits because of his constant infidelities. I clearly remember one day maybe fifteen years ago, at my married friend's house, he came in and, ignoring my presence, kissed her hello, promptly putting his tongue down her throat. Needless to say, I proffered my cheek to him for a peck.

Women loved him back because of his flirting irreverence. Many men probably disliked him for all of the above.

He was deeply involved into the horse world, and was on the board of the Royal Melbourne Show, and the Melbourne Hunt Club, both very prestigious positions.

He loved the grog, and when he began to mow the lawns at a friend's beautiful gardens, she would breathalyse him before she let him on the ride-on. If he failed, he was demoted to the push mower.

At seventy-eight and stricken by cancer, I last saw him two weeks ago at an aged care hostel, where he had been for maybe five years. He spent his time there annoying the nurses and care workers, and receiving visitors. Fresh out of hospital to have a morphine pump inserted, his mischievous eyes still lit up in his wasted face as I called out to him, surrounded by ladies and having a stolen cigarette on the back step.

His funeral is at the local Football Club, where he had built a new life, rarely missing a game when he was well enough. I'm sure I'll hear lots more stories of his escapades today.

"Here's to a long life and a merry one
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer and another one!"
... Author Unknown

Monday, January 21, 2008

Comfort Plus

One of our lambies dozing on her own custom made pillow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fantasy, Monster Bread and Life's Lessons

I went to see 'The Waterhorse' last Friday with my daughter and grandson. It's about the legend of the Loch Ness monster, and was an absolute delight. Being a great enthusiast of Photoshop, and have done some cartooning and animation, I am fascinated by CGI.

The CGI in this film is entrancing and seamless. The tiny creature that hatches out, and grows at an alarming pace is unbelievably realistic, with moist skin and alive eyes. It swims and splashes, bangs down the stairs, and gets into all sorts of mischief, until it gets really BIG!

I'd love to see how it's constructed.

It's a children's film, but still worth a look, especially if you can take a small person too.


I borrowed a bread machine from a friend, to see whether it was a useful tool for making our own bread. I used to make a lot of bread by hand, then life changed for a time, and I never got back to it, until recently.

The first loaf I made was a wholemeal banana bread, which was pretty cute, and toasted up really well for our one 'toast and spreads morning' per week. It was an even shape and nicely browned.

BUT, I made one yesterday for some lunch guests and it turned out like this.

It got heaps of laughs, and tasted like the good old 'Aussie damper' (made in a cast iron camp oven on the fire). It had a pretty heavy texture, but I did use the wrong flour. The recipes have some options about size, so possibly not use the small portions, because there just wasn't enough dough to make up the required shape.

A friend has given me some bread making mix, and I will use that before I return it.

There is something really lovely about getting your hands into the flour, kneading the dough, setting it aside to rise, punching it down for another rise, shaping and baking it, and pulling it out of the oven. That's the best part! The smell...................

Maybe I'll go back to basics.


I haven't read much of it yet, but have started 'Tuesdays with Morrie', which is renowned world wide. I believe there was even a short series made of it.

I rarely watch 'Oprah', but it was rattling away in the background one day and the author, Mitch Albom was being interviewed.

It sounded fascinating, so I got onto Amazon and bought a second hand copy for '1 cent' plus postage, and it came all the way from the US.

A true story, Morrie is dying of a debilitating muscle disease, and invites an ex-student into his final months. His gentle wisdom and positive attitude towards his slow slide into the after life teaches all who spend time with him.

Even my philosopher daughter lit up when I mentioned it, saying she had a copy, and loved it.


To teach how to live with uncertainty, yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can do.
... Bertrand Russell

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Food Miles

I've got a bit of a 'bee in my bonnet' about the latest global warming catch cry....... food miles. Most people know that this means how far the food travels before it reaches your table.

If we read the labels on packaging in the supermarkets, we will discover that in Australia, we are eating simple foods like jams and sweet corn, dates and dried apricots from far away places such as Turkey, Poland and Thailand.

I've had a few shopping expeditions at ALDI recently, where all the labels are strange, and packed under the vast ALDI umbrella. I bought some peanut butter and was horrified to read on the label it was from China! Safeway (Woolworths) is the same.

China has recently earned the reputation for poor quality control on its products, with lead paint on children's toys, and chemicals in its foods. Who knows how the peanuts are grown for that peanut butter? The Chinese are know to use human waste for fertiliser, and ground grown peanuts could be bathing in it. Thailand could well be the same.

I like to know how my food is grown, and though it's cheap to buy imported food, it could well be bad for our health.

Australia is becoming inundated with imported foods, when we used to grow everything we needed. Local growers have been put under huge pressure with cheaper imports, and are closing down their operations.

I heard recently talk about fuel costs becoming so high, it will be prohibitive to cart food from one side of the world to the other.

Our household is trying to produce as much of our own food as we can, and our health has improved markedly with no herbicides or insecticides. I have hardly bought any vegetables for the past three years and our savings have been obvious.

The pleasure we derive from walking outside for food for our table never lessens.

We buy very little processed foods, but I have promised myself to read the labels, and spend a little more to buy locally grown food where I can.

Following on from that ramble, for the past three years, I have collected wild cherry plums that grow along many of our roads nearby. Spread by birds who revel in this annual fruit bonanza, they are easily accessible from the roadside.

I usually pick a couple of buckets, and cook them up for jam.

It is a real pain to pick all the pips out. I used to mash them up and do it with a teaspoon, which is very time consuming, but yesterday I waited for it to cool a little and got the hands in, which is much quicker.

I make the jam in the microwave in a huge casserole dish, and it's done in forty minutes. Apart from buying the sugar, we have delicious jam for nothing!

I think our new beehive is up and functioning, though I doubted it for the first few days. There were few bees around the front entry, and I hoped they all hadn't defected back to the old hive.

I tapped on the side yesterday morning, and it began to buzz furiously inside, so I think all is well.

We went to pick up a motorized honey extractor from a retiring beekeeper the other night. Although we are far from needing such a unit, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. Buying one new is a very expensive process.

My man hadn't seen it before, and his jaw dropped when we called to pick it up.

It is a real old dinosaur, with lovely cast iron mechanism. We were told he bought it from an 80 year old beekeeper. The motor runs smoothly, and the seller showed us all the tricks he has learned so it extracts efficiently, with little damage to the honeycomb.

We bought 6 used hives as well, complete with frames, so we can expand at our leisure.

"History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity."
... Dexter Perkins

Monday, January 14, 2008

Generation Y (or is it Z?)

" ..... Generation Y were much more idealistic than generation X, not as cynical or judgemental, and not into tags or titles.

Generation Y feel they can change the world. Making positive history is a big thing with gen Y, they feel they can achieve something together. That's a powerful thing. The future, I think, is fantastic."

From a piece by Barney Zwartz in The Age ~ January 15, 2008

Sounds a little heartening.

Every now and again my blood has run cold hearing some bitter Gen Xers cursing the baby boomers - that we were self indulgent, 'spending the kids' inheritances', and that they would have to pay to look after us when we got older.

I was picturing boomer pensioners locked away in dingy Old Folks' Detention Centres, fed on crackers and water...........

But then, we have the delightful 16 year old brat who threw a mammoth party last weekend involving police, helicopters and dogs to break it up.

"At least 30 police, the dog squad and the airwing helicopter were called to disperse the drunken, 500 strong crowd that massed at the Delaney's Narre Warren home on Corey's open house invitation." ...Herald Sun

Mum and Dad were up in Queensland on holidays, unaware of the disaster unfolding back home. The house and garden is trashed, the neighbours' homes are damaged as well, and Dad is fit to kill.

The little shit is fiercely unrepentant, despite the threatened $20,000 bill to the family for the dispatched troops. He refuses to go home to meet Dad's wrath, and has had an offer of $2000 from interstate to throw a similar party. He is so thick as to think he can hire a hall to do it in.

He is getting far too much publicity.

Dumb as .................

I hope he's not running our retirement homes.

"The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time.
They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another."

...Quentin Crisp

Sunday, January 13, 2008

'Grumpy Bee Gals'

Our girls have memories, it seems, or they smelled minuscule amounts of their honey on my hands yesterday when I was moving some frames nearby.

They chase with such vehement determination, banging and buzzing around my head, reducing me to a stumbling shambles, flapping my hands at my hair. I am going to wear my veil and a long sleeved shirt for a few days until they get over the drama.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
... Anaïs Nin, Diary, 1969


Completed birthday gift commission of the historic stone Avenel Bridge, north of Melbourne.

It was built in 1859, I think, and has connections with Victoria's most notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly. Now, it is only used as a foot bridge, with an ugly, modern bridge built right next door for road traffic.

My client's wife grew up nearby in the 60s and played there often.

Oh, to be so free! Young people these days are under such parental control, memories like this will be a thing of the past.......

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Crowning of a New Queen

Our local beekeeper and I installed our new mail order bride yesterday. She came in the mail last Wednesday morning, and I waited for the cooler weather to open our single large hive.

Sadly, having a broken wrist from my motorcycle accident has left the hive unopened for four months, so a lot of maintenance hasn't been done. It's very necessary to keep the frames of comb neat and being built in the right places.

Plus, my amateur status meant that I hadn't filled the hive fully with frames, so there had been extra comb hanging in the gaps. All this needed to be cleaned off and discarded (see below), leaving honey and brood cells destined for the bin.

Poor girls! They were pretty distressed, and I felt very guilty and responsible for such murder and mayhem in their carefully maintained hive.

So, the hive was split and a new one created in a temporary half sized box. The new queen and her four attendant workers were installed in their tiny box under the lid. Those workers and the hive ladies will eat their way through a block of candy at the side to release them when the hive is ready to accept her. This takes only a few days. Then I need to check for new eggs in about ten days to make sure she and the hive is up and running.

Hives should be filled with enough bees to not only care for the new brood and harvest honey, but to keep the hive cool by flapping their wings, or warm if necessary. Our older three box hive needed to be reduced back to one level only.

Bees are very organised and fastidious at their housework, so after creating such a disaster, w
e left them to clean up.

When my wonderful helper departed, I went back down to pick up as much comb as I could, because another established hive can rob one that's so vulnerable, killing the inmates and stealing the honey. The comb that I picked up was like a magnet, attracting the workers to take the honey back into the hive, plus the confusion of the exposed brood. I used my bee brush to gently wipe the bees off and drop it quickly into a sheet covered bucket. A second too slow and the furious girls were back into it again.

No stings for either of us, but after I took my gear off and was watering the dry garden, they got me back. They can be amazingly vindictive and tenacious when angered, and I was chased away from my watering by furious little ladies. I was stung on my arm, but I consider it a small price to pay for the damage I did them.

Out with a torch late in the evening, they were still out the front of the hive, cleaning up the comb, and still angry at me! Both hives were loudly abuzz with lots of agitation inside.

I came in with one more up my jeans leg, and copped another sting.

This morning, both hives have bees in it, which augers well for the new hive. Now I am plucking up courage to put my clobber on, light the smoker and do the final housework so they can get on with their lives.

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. "
... Lao Tzu

I love this Photo

Our mums and babies on an idyllic summer evening.

Did they read my Blog?

I don't think so, but a telephone repair contractor showed up today, and we are fixed!!!
No more crackles......... and I am ridiculously happy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Crackling Anyone?

Our phone has been playing up for around two months. It has a evil gremlin in there that likes to scrunch cellophane ..... sometimes softly, and sometimes VERY LOUDLY. The noise can be so overwhelming that your nerves are jumping, and you want to blow up the entire uncaring Telstra monstrosity.

It began when we had a heavy deluge of rain, or at least, that's when we think it began. My memory banks have registered that it had happened before, and needed a technician/repair man to come up and take the top off our wiring thingie on our fence line and fiddle with that.

I thought I might give it time to correct itself, but that didn't happen. The noise became so loud that we had to ask our callers to speak up, or we would end up having to terminate the call before we all had a breakdown.

My temper began to fray, so I got onto AAPT, our service provider. We had transfered over to them two years ago because the savings were quite considerable. I do remember contacting Telstra for a refund after they had made a mistake, and the frosty call centre chick reminded me we were 'no longer customers' (they finally did refund after I got determined and threatened the ombudsman!).

Back to AAPT. After passing through that intensely frustrating process of automatic choices, it refused to recognise my answer because of the crackling, rudely hanging up on me twice.

I finally got through that process and waited half an hour on the music queue trying to tune out the static monster sent to torment me. Eventually a human got on the line, and I mumbled desperately to the patient girl about our distress. She contacted Telstra, the phone line provider, who promised it would be fixed by the fourth of January. Relief!

We struggled on until the fourth came and went, and no Telstra repairman.

I got back on the mobile and got hung up on twice by the automated answering system, I think because the faulty number I registered was on their 'don't talk to her' radar.

Trying to outwit them, for the next call, I registered my mobile number, and the mindless robot 'put me through' into a queue that stretched for over three quarters of an hour! I began to worry about my mobile phone bill.

Finally I was put through to a nice Scottish lady who tested the line, contacted Telstra and made more promises for a repairman by next Monday. She noted down a refund for my burgeoning mobile bill and wished me luck. She thanked me for 'being nice' as the last gentleman had been very rude. I replied that customers shouldn't have to wait so long for assistance.

They don't care! It's Saturday already and we haven't spotted the Telstra man. Our phone sounds terminally ill when it rings and the dial tone is like our gremlin has hiccups. The crackling ..... well, don't remind me! Chinese water torture has nothing on this. I reflected at one stage that if I was plugged into this noise for too long, I would be ready for the insane asylum........

I'm going to investigate VOIP. I read on a forum that we can have a Telstra line for incomings @ $19.95 a month, and a VOIP for outgoings at a much cheaper rate. Telstra might love us again and fix this freakin' line.

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."
...John Quincy Adams

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Roasted Vegies and Queen Bees

At 40 degrees Celcius it's a roasting day today! I have just been out to look at the veggie garden and many of the plants are seriously wilted. I have heard you shouldn't water your plants during the heat of the day, but being under a griller like our sun today, they don't have much chance either. I have even put an old umbrella over the cucumbers to try to restore them a bit. I have never grown cucumbers before, and they were developing quite nicely until the heat of the past week.

Next year, I am going to get a huge blind made that can be rolled out from the house eaves and over the whole thing. Then they might survive summer a little better. Our garden is our household's main source of vegetables; I rarely buy anything, so it's worth while putting in the investment.

We have another 40 degree day predicted for tomorrow, and everyone is bracing for the expected bushfires. This time of the year, we live bushfires, as my man works for the Dept of Primary Industries, and goes away to help fight them each year. He has not been called away yet, but could well do at any moment.

I ordered a new queen bee recently, so I can split our one large hive into two. She came this morning via express post in a small box with four attendant workers. The postman tooted her horn as she put the parcel in the letterbox so I would know not to leave her there to roast.

I have never done this before, but have read up on the internet and my 'Beekeeping for Dummies' book. I also went to look at buying some secondhand hives, a hot knife and an electric honey extractor yesterday.

The man was a retired beekeeper, and had heaps of equipment to choose from, so we will pick up everything next weekend. He was full of information, so I picked his brain as much as I could.

I ordered a 'marked' queen, so she has a white dot on her back for easy identification. I mixed up some sugar syrup and wiped it across the wire, and they all had a feed, so all seems well.

I might not install her until the cool tomorrow night, because settling into a red hot new hive might finish her off.

We need to open the other hive, find the queen, then choose some frames with brood, honey and no queen to put into the new one. Next, the workers chew through the candy plug in the little box and release the queen. The few days it takes allows the hive to get used to the newcomers. Very 'political' and interesting.

“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others

...St John Chrystostom

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Passages of Life

Life seems full of lessons, some obvious and others not so.

I participated in my daughter and her partner's move to the country last weekend. Her sister and partner helped, along with my 15 and 8 y.o. grandson and my man. Apart from the obvious pleasure I felt from their camaraderie and enthusiasm, it marked a major step forward for her moving into an entirely new phase of her life.

After years of study and house cleaning to fund her and her son's life, she now metamorphoses into a totally new form..... one of professional teacher, involving setting up her curriculum, managing her students and most of all, inspiring them to learn. I am looking forward to watching her use her personal inspiration, which I have seen during her teaching rounds last year.

She will be a good one, I feel sure of that.

Today I went to visit a friend's mother, who at 93, is in the twilight stages of her life. Her short term memory is totally shot, she forgets whether she ate or drank, has a recently broken shoulder which can't be repaired, and is developing pressure sores on her poor bony little bottom.

She is always gently dignified, and long term memory lights up her face when you see her, because you have been in her life for twenty years, and have loved her always. A truly beautiful lady.

Three years ago ~ 90th birthday treat

She nestles quietly into her beautifully decorated room in the Nursing Home, waiting for her life to be over, and is surrounded by love from family and friends. None of that love will make her trip through this last stage of life any longer than is already apportioned her.

As someone who had a difficult unstable mother, who is gone now, but left an uncomfortable scar on my psyche, I envy this mostly gentle traveling into the next world. 'Part of the rich tapestry of life', as I often reflect.

My man took off on his Harley this morning, for an 'overnighter', up through East Gippsland, then north into the Mountains, over Mt Hotham and down to beautiful Bright to stay, and then home.

He wants to try a trip on his own to see how he feels about his aloneness without me riding close and staggered alongside him.

With my smashed wrist not being able to close the clutch in, and not being able to swivel on my injured knee to get my leg over, leaves me at home and 'grieving' somewhat.

I watched him put his heavy leather jacket and gloves on, and he kissed me twice to say goodbye before the helmet and sunglasses went on. The big Harley motor turned over and rumbled into life and, with a wave, he was gone. I could hear the echoes of the gear changes and revs of the motor through the hills for five minutes or more.

My memories registered how it was to prepare for a big ride - the adrenaline, anticipation and then the roar of the big bikes, as we threaded our way down the windy gravel roads. We would reach the bitumen, then speed up, and whoever was in front would punch the air with absolute joy, and the one behind would reply in kind. If I was ahead when we reached the main road, I would hit the throttle hard, just for a moment, and the bike would leap forward with enough power to take your breath away.

? Yes, heaps. I keep steering my mind away from the realisation that this might be the end of such dual pleasure, of that extra level of mateship between us, but it surfaces like a dark sludge at times like this.

How do I find something to replace it?

"Sometimes the best communication happens when you're on separate bikes."
...Author Unknown

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"Mon Petit Chou"

I have sown some Ornamental Kale Cabbage seeds a few weeks ago, and am waiting impatiently for the tiny seedlings to grow bigger.

I bought some in a punnet two years ago, and had so much pleasure out of those four plants, I want more!. I even left them over winter and on into the next summer to grow into spires. These grew upwards into Christmas tree shapes for just the right time of the year.

When they finally went to seed, flowering in lots of soft yellow spikes, I collected them, tucking them away into an envelope and forgetting them until a few weeks ago.

I used the same method I did for carrots (which worked a treat), and mixed up a cup of flour glue, then got a matchstick and dabbed each seed onto toilet paper cut into long narrow strips, and drying them. Then I planted them into a seed tray of sand and compost.

Now I can't wait for them to grow big enough to plant out!

Looking up on the Net, I discovered that they can also be cooked, so I might save a couple for the pot as well.

" Mon Petit Chou"... A french term of endearment , literally translated as 'My Little Cabbage'

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Late Treasures

I'm sitting here banging away on my laptop, and listening to Christmas Carols................

I bought Josh Groban's 'Noel' before Christmas on eBay, and didn't realise it was coming from Buenos Aries! The pre-Christmas postal rush meant it has arrived after the big day.

I don't care! It is spectacular. 'Ave Maria' is on now and the hair is standing up on the back of my neck.

I watch this young man singing and being interviewed on TV and think just how proud his parents must be. So much talent and such a gentleman.

Motorcycle accident update. Yesterday I was looking at my wrist x-rays 4 months down the track, mainly to check on the location of the screws and plate. I've been getting some uncomfortable clunking and shooting pains, which is possibly from the bone growing and closing down the joint a little.

I discovered that my thumb had been broken as well! I had complained to the surgeon after the surgery that my thumb was extremely sore, and he had shown little interest, which was pretty disappointing at the time. I thought it had been badly sprained from holding onto the bike hand grip, but the pain has persisted.

Now, I am really mad! I have an appointment with my lovely GP tomorrow, and have had all the results sent to her to view. Having surgery on my knee due, I am unsure about whether I want to use him.

Blerghhh! If it hasn't been difficult enough so far. It's not over yet.

You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far.
... Uncle Remus