Thursday, December 31, 2009

NYE in Pearl World

The bats have taken to the air, the new neighbors down the back have moved in (along with the smell of freshly sawn wood .... breathing deeply), I am making mango chili chutney, there is a forecast of possible showers - my world is happy. Happy NYE folks :-)


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Photo Challenge

Due to so many other photo challenges being available to bloggers and there only being one and a half players left on the Challenge (yes I was the half), I think it would be best if this died a quiet death for 2010 .... subject to anyone still wanting to play.

Just putting it out there ....

Plans Are Made

Despite many, many promises, I am going back to WA. It is only for a quickish visit. I always said I wouldn't but I have a very special friend with a very special occasion that has put in a very special request.

And now I need to put in all of the logistical requirements ....

There are the obvious ones like needing wheelchair support through the airport (and that will be four in total - two each way) which I can organize with no problem but then there are all of the unexpected bits.

I am trying so hard to not be a martyr or a problem but there are difficulties at every stage of this trip that I need to make contingency plans for - like the possibility of walking 100 m from the bus stop to my destination on one leg. Now if I have a day like today that is just so not realistic - I am having enough problems walking from one room to another let alone 100 m!

I have spent time developing a daily regime where I can cope with all contingencies with a minimum of fuss to the rest of the world. I am truly looking forward to the trip but am not really comfortable with having to ask for help ... and I know I will - possibly a lot.

Damn this desire for independence!!!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

It Started Last Night ....

At 12.38 am my smoke alarm went off briefly. Fortunately I was awake. I wombled into the kitchen (rapid movement is so not an option towards the end of the day) and doubled checked the oven was off and nothing was billowing smoke. It was as I suspected, time to change the batteries... in principle.

Okay I know you are meant to change them on April Fool's Day each year but my batteries don't last that long - no matter what brand I buy - so I end up with random blasts from the smoke alarm, becoming more and more frequent, as the battery begins to die. I got wise this year, I was going to deal with after the first blast.

Now I can't really move at the best of times so climbing on a chair with arms fully extended (being the short person that I am) was quickly eliminated as an option. So I went to the next best thing - my whacking stick. It is actually a magnificent natural hiking stick that was gifted to me some years ago but I haven't had the opportunity to use it for hiking - but it has been used for whacking, hence the name change.

With whacking stick in hand I took aim and knocked the alarm off the ceiling. It feel neatly onto a nearby couch. Not so lucky for the glass lamp shade which deflected the alarm on the way down. It shattered. I picked up the alarm and took out the battery.

I have been into the lounge a few times today - shattered glass everywhere. I have seriously considered leaving it all there until my home help comes in 10 days. But again, that is not really an option so I have done what needed to be done. I have bent down and picked up the pieces. I have vacuumed the area thoroughly. I have hurt my back. I am not surprised - that is why I contemplated leaving it for 10 days.

If anyone wants me I shall be in bed, gobbling down pain killers.

Photo: "Air Curl" by gooeyraisin

The Wisdom Spreads

I was just trawling through the Farmville forum (before I get to the assignment) when I noticed the signature on the above post. They have pinched mine lol (well apart from the last phrase). The wisdom of Ms Maya was obviously too hard to ignore .... but I already knew that :-)

Go Kylie :-)

The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope. Love of the past implies faith in the future.

Stephen Ambrose

Art: "Hope: Orange Dancers" (artist unknown to me will certainly credit when I find out)

The Search for an Agent

I had decided that after Christmas I would start my search for an agent and while I understand that most everybody will be closed this week coming, I have just spend more than two hours looking for leads, addresses, information ... well anything really.

The result? Well I the names of four potentials in Australia - although as I am looking for an agent for my columns (and not my current book) I think I have only one real option. That doesn't fill me with confidence .... it is a bit cocky to think that a beginner will walk into one agency, they will immediately pick you up and then find you a publisher.

I have started looking at UK, US, South African, New Zealand and Canadian publishers but that looks just as hard.

Ok I admit I am feeling a little over-whelmed and am doubting myself a little but (pulling myself together) ...

  • I have always wanted to do this - it isn't a passing whim 
  • I may as well give it a go 
  • I have just as much chance as anyone else who is a beginner 
  • I have had work published (in a national magazine as well as state newspapers between the ages of 15 - 19 ... and I got paid for most of it - so there must be some talent in there)
  • and, apart form some pride I have nothing to lose.

So, the research will continue and I will be ready when everyone re-opens after the festive break. Someone hand me a cardboard sign "Be published or bust" lol

Photo: "In search of .." by Lukreszja

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Soapbox for the Day

For the past two weeks the news from Australia's retailers hasn't been good - sales have been down when compared to previous years and shoppers have been encouraged to spend, spend spend. Reports from the Boxing Day sales apparently had grins on the faces of the retailers - those ever-reliable shoppers have come through and helped out the bottom line.

Today's news bulletin carried the headline that Australians have the highest personal debt on record with household debt now higher than what the entire country earns annually. Household debt includes mortgages, personal loans and credit cards.

I could rant on and on about 'don't buy what you can't afford' and 'living simply' and my current bug-bear 'the commercialization of Christmas' (and yes I know the debt figures don't include the Christmas spend) but I think I would be blowing in the wind.

Suffice to say that any potential lessons to be learned from the infamous GFC seem to have been lost - maybe we really did need to have a deep recession to make people listen.

Storm off the Woopi Headland

I Hear You

The most important thing in communications is to hear what isn't being said.

Peter Drucker

Art: "Summer" by Keith Mallett

Kewl Kids Sunday

Can you tell me the name of the animal, vegetable and mineral?

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Speed Blogging

I pinched this one from diver :-) these questions require a one word answer .... and I do reserve the right to change my answers tomorrow lol

1. Where's your phone?

2. Your hair?

3. Your Mother?

4. Your Father?

5. Your favorite food?
Chickenfriedsteak (lol I was limited to one word but I could also add ribs ... drool)

6. Your dream last night?

7. Your favorite drink?

8. Your dream/goal?

9. What room are you in?

10. Your hobby?

11. Your fear?

12. Where do you want to be in six years?

13. Where were you last night?

14. Something you're not?

15. Muffins?

16. Wish list item?

17. Where did you grow up?

18. Last thing you did?

19. What are you wearing?

20. Your tv?

21. Your pets?

22. Friends?

23. Your life?

24. Your mood?

25. Missing someone?

26. Vehicle?

27. Something you're not wearing?

28. Your favorite store?

29. Your favorite color?

30. When was the last time you laughed?

31. The last time you cried?

32. Your best friend?

33. One pace I got to over and over?

34. Facebook

35. Favorite place to eat?
Red Hot and Blues or Chillis (giving up one word answers)

Feel welcome to join in the fun :-)

Farmville Thinking

Overcrowded chickens sigh .... should be selling at least half of them off ....

To say nothing of the poor calves!!! At least the bulls are separated (although I needed to temporarily put a couple of cows in with them). Veal anyone?

And yes, the cats will definitely be gone in the next day or two (as soon as I have made a little money out of them ..... aaargh, where have my morals gone).

Farmville Thinking

To distract myself over the past few weeks I have started playing the Facebook-associated game 'Farmville". For those unfamiliar with the game essentially it is a sim-type game in which you build a farm - you can grow crops, maintain animals as well as buy fences and buildings and the like.

Some people play to gain as many points as possible as fast as they can, other play to master all of the various components, others like to create farm art and still other enjoy play to build relationships with their neighbors.

I confess to wanting to get set up as soon as I could so I was planting and harvesting crops like a trooper (I was planting and harvesting crops that took 4 hours to grow - while there are other options which extend out to up to 3 days - I was even setting the alarm so I could get up int he middle of the night to harvest to keep things going 24 hours a day). I also gained extra points from fertilizing the crops of my neighbors. I planted my orchard and began to accumulate animals as soon as I could. And in amongst all of that I tried to keep it looking as "real farm" as I could (there are lots of decorations on other themes like Christmas that you can include).

And then I realized that I have another whole layer of considerations that I have been applying without even being aware of it. I have been rotating my crops to ensure the integrity of my soil. I got as many water troughs as I could. I have been as free-range as I can be - ensuring that each animal has as much space as practicable (for example, you can squish 8 sheep onto one square but I only put 1 sheep on each square). I stressed over including rabbits (feral creatures that they are) but justified their inclusion because you can harvest their fur/hair - and they are firmly enclosed in a yard they can't escape from. I worried about putting the bulls in with the calves while the cows were in the dairy - would the little ones be safe. In the end I pulled cows out of the dairy and put them with the calves while I put the bulls in a separate paddock. None of this is necessary. None of this wins me any bonuses within the game. But somewhat sub-consciously I have been farming ethically!!!!!

And this only really came to light over the past few days when is started opening my Farmville Christmas presents and I got too many chickens for the space I had set aside for them. I have also started getting penguins (which would not do well in the Australian summer). And my black sheep are in with the white ones (no I don't have racist issues - my family has a stud farm and black wool is a major sin and the sheep responsible is culled). Co-incidentally I have also decided to gain a cropping mastery or two and I have started broadacre cropping without the rotation ... and all of this has caused me angst!

Yes I know they are pixels, they are not real but maybe I am a bit of a farm girl after all. Now if you excuse me, I need to go and check the sheep :-)

Just Me

If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art: "Don't Tell Me I'm A Dreamer ..." by Chantal Lilly

Feelings Check

I am angry - and I have been for some weeks. I don't recall when I have ever been this angry before.  I especially get angry at about this time of the day when the general business of life slows down and I have time for reflection. Now I always said I would be honest on this blog but there is obviously another party involved here so forgive me if I do not include some identifiable details to maintain their privacy.

Did I mention I am angry. Actually I am more livid than angry. And I have been internalizing it all. I am not fussed that this person leaned on me during a hard time. I am not fussed that I disagree with their resolution of the situation.  I am fussed that they crossed the line and emotionally blackmailed me into doing more than I wanted to, to get more involved than I ever should have. I am angry that they pushed old buttons. I am angry that they disrespected me, big time. I am angry that they took advantage of a bad situation. I am angry that they have walked away and not looked back.

Now, if I put my welfare hat on, I should discuss this with the person involved. If need be I should be assertive but not aggressive. Screw that. I can hypothesize what will happen but say I default to them saying a simple "sorry". I don't want that. I want them to undo what has happened. I want them to take my pain away. I want them to take the anger away. Being that that outcome (which I acknowledge is impossible) is not practical I see no point in bringing up the point with them - but I am putting up huge walls - this will NOT happen again.

And in the meantime I am still so very angry and I haven't come up with a successful plan to dissipate it.

Photo: "Angry Little Girl" by SubterfugeMalaises

Friday, December 25, 2009

One Day At A Time

I am never impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another.

Ellen Goodman

Art: "Havin A Heat Wave" by Shirley Novak

I'm Back

Apologies to my millions of readers (lol) - there has been some upheaval happening around me so I had to take time out to deal with it .... and I wasn't in the mood to blog. Actually  probably still need to vent about it all but I will leave that for now (breathe deep, press it down a bit further).

Anyway, blogging shall resume from today :-)


Friday, November 27, 2009


Sometimes the lies you tell are less frightening than the loneliness you might feel if you stopped telling them.

Brock Clarke

Art: "With Stories to Tell" by Angela Morgan

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vale Polly Waffle

Sad news - the Polly Waffle will be no more. Now I am one of the many many people (apparently) that don't buy Polly Waffles. But I do think they perform something of a public service just by being on the shelves - a remnant of times gone by when perhaps, the world was a little simpler.

I still don't want to eat you Mr Waffle, but please know you will be missed.

Just Do It

Life is a risk.
Diane Von Furstenberg

Art: "Danseurs de Fouladeu" by Kalidou Kasse

Guess Who?

J3 is on Youtube!!! Dance, dance, dance :-) Now I promised her mom I would never give out details that may compromise her identity so I can't tell you which one is her - and if you guess I won't confirm or deny but she is definitely on here.

Happy little vegemite (me that is lol)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kewl Kids Sunday

No these are not animated pics! (but they do make my eyes ache lol) Check out the info here.

Pearl Gets Flowers

Many thanks Robbie - mwah :-)

Australian Wildlife

This lizard was climbing the tree across the road - thanks to Dad for pointing it out :-)

This spider was in the rafters of the cafe we went to on Friday night. It might look innocuous but it was easily bigger than a saucer :-) And no i am not joking.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carbon Footprint Update

Now that I am no longer a "worker" in the traditional sense of the word I have just updated my carbon footprint details.

I am now emitting approximatley half a tonne of carbon each year ... well a little bit over: 0.53 tonnes. Now I could be cocky and say it is waaaaaaay under the average for Australia but it would still take 2 planets to support everyone if they lived like me.

I do buy at least 5 trees each year and only need to buy one to offset my emissions, so I am 8 trees in credit that way but next weekend I will need to buy an additional 5 trees to specifically offset my American trip from earlier in the year. Yes I could use my exisiting credits but I want to offset the trip separately.

So, I am happy with the results but there is still room for improvement. I was contemplating saving my shower water for use on the garden but that isn't really practical with my back being as it is so my goal is to increase my percentage of food bought with consideration to Food Miles and to further cut down my meat consumption.

Just an update .....

PS: I used both the 1degree calculator and the WWF one to come up with my totals.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Photo Challenge Updates

The end of the year is drawing nigh - in fact in 43 days we will be popping champagne and shouting 'Happy New Year'. Okay I could have come up with the number of shopping days until Christmas but I thought that '43' was scary enough.

If you have a moment in amongst it all, why not join the Challenge.

This Friday (20 November): Body Part
Friday 27 November: Reflection
Friday 4 December: Food

PS: Welshcakes, you're a legend :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Challenge

I began writing my next book last night. Not as part of the November challenge but just because I am ready. I am looing at publishing 10 copies (give or take).

I will let you know how I am going as things progress.

Photo: "the novel" by TanPen

Annabel's New Dress

I went to visit friend's and Sue has begun to make a range of dolls clothes. You should see them! While I was ooh-ing and aah-ing over them all (there is everything from beanies to ball-gowns and if you want layette style garments for a real baby then this is the woman to call) I casually mentioned that Annabel would fit into one of them. Before I knew it, the dress was mine.

Annabel is almost 40 years old and hasn't had a new outfit since I sewed her a dress when I was 10-ish (which she wears with her original blue 'fur' coat to this day).

She is perhaps showing her age, just a little (although I think there is some sort of rule about saying that about any woman) but her new dress made her smile.

And if anyone is looking for their perfect gift for their daughter/ grand-daughter/ niece/ Annabel/ themselves just let me know.

Many thanks Sue :-)

Kewl Kids Sunday

Cirrus cloud

Altostratus cloud

Stratus cloud
Cumulus cloud
How much do you know about clouds? According to Wikipedia, there are five main forms:
  • High clouds (cirrocumulus, cirrus and cirrostratus),
  • Middle clouds (altostratus and altocumulus),
  • Low clouds (cumulus, stratocumulus, nimbostratus and stratus),
  • Vertical clouds (cumulonimbus, cumulus, pyrocumulus) and
  • everything else.
Well okay I may have bundled the last category together but you can look at the article here is you want more details on the "everything else" clouds or on the various sub-groups of each category. And this website is devoted to shots of rare and incredible clouds if you want to check it out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Huh! Says Who?

I never realised until lately that women were meant to be inferior.

Katherine Hepburn

Art: "Unity" by Monica Stewart

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Purpose and Passion

The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.

Barbara Hall (Northern Exposure)

Art: "Summer Harvest" by Lowell Herrero

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Photo Challenge Updates

I have taken so many photos this week -none relevant to the Challenge but it keeps me out of trouble lol. Well that and my latest assignment (Zen Buddhism). If nothing else, taking photos for Friday does get me thinking in other directions and out of the house :-)

This Friday (13 November): Architecture
Friday 20 November: Body part
Friday November 27: Reflection

Happy clicking :-)

Lentil Club Luncheon

It was over a week ago that I invited myself and Dad to Kylie's for the day - and once she agreed obviously the invitation to Abz went out too. And so we gathered on the veranda and chatted and talked and played. Dad and I brought lunch. I can't find the recipe for the top one but essentially it is a spinach and ricotta plait with the variation that grated lemon rind has been included in the mix in addition to the usual nutmeg etc. Dad made that one. I brought the salad with was pretty simple with some roasted beetroot, funky lettuce (mesclun), sprouts, tomato and boiled egg.
Many thanks to Josh for the photos :-)