Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sunday Selections #213

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.

Like River I usually run with a theme. This week is no exception - but first things first.

Thank you all so much for your comments and messages of support while I was having a wallow in the pity pool.  I have found my flippers and my snorkel and have pretty much emerged from the murky depths.  The coughing virus and the ear infection I picked up are both mostly gone, but my MS is thriving at the moment (drat it) so I am not walking well and pain is an issue.  However, our Enlighten Festival (which runs for two weeks) started on Friday.  Lots and lots of illuminated buildings down by the lake.  Of course we went.  And this year they have added Night Noodle Markets so we went early - thinking we would have an early dinner and then a wander.

Wrong.  The Night Noodle Markets were incredibly crowded and expensive - and there was nowhere to sit (except on the grass) if you did reach the head of the queue.  Neither of us could face the queues and if I get down to the ground I have huge difficulties getting up again, so we passed. 

Instead we wandered down to the lake to see Voyage - where 300 paper boats formed a fleet.





They were fun early - and after dark were illuminated and became an almost incandescent fleet.





Before dark we trekked up to the National Gallery, planning to start the walk from there when the buildings were illuminated.

The next orb is not part of the Enlighten Festival - but I love it.  I take yet another photo (or six) of it each time I visit the gallery.  The light on it is natural, reflections from the setting sun and clouds...


Needless to say there are many, many more photos (of variable quality) from the night.  I will probably devote a post to them in a few days.  One of the buildings lights failed, and there are some special features which won't happen until next weekend, so we will be back.  And, our balloon festival starts when Enlighten ends.  This balloon tragic will certainly be there to see that as well.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Back in a bit.

I am having an attack of  the inadequacies.  Neither my body nor my brain are behaving well and I cannot think of anything about myself that I like or value.

I am going out in the garden to eat worms.  When that palls perhaps I will do a little weeding.

I will be back when I have re-established some equanimity.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sunday Selections #210

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.

Like River I usually run with a theme.  I love my garden, and am obsessed with it.  However, this summer my get up and go has disappeared without me, and the garden has been neglected.  When I can track the missing vim and vigour down serious work is needed.

Luckily, some things are still blooming.  The tuberous begonias along the front verandah are just starting to flower and are a joy.







The next plant's name completely escapes me at the moment.  And has done for over a week.


Some of the many liliums we planted are flowering...


As is the hibiscus.


And the bromeliads...




Given how slack I have been, I have been very, very lucky.  Past work rewarded, and current neglect not punished as much as I expected (or possibly deserved).

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

#LungLeavingDay 2015

Some of you will remember that a little while ago I said that my youngest brother was likely to lose his house because, long before his wife bought it, it had been insulated with friable asbestos.  I don't know about you, but the phrase 'there is always someone worse off' was frequently heard in my house when I was growing up.  It is so often true.  And definitely in this case  A little while ago I had an email from someone who proved it to me.

The person who contacted me was Heather Von St. James. Nine years ago she was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given just 15 months to live. She was a new mother, and determined to survive.  Her life saving treatment included the removal of her left lung and LungLeaving Day was born. February 2nd (which is today in her hemisphere) is the anniversary of that day. 

Each year, she and her family gather around a fire in the backyard, write their biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire.   This link will take you to an interactive page they have created to share that special day.

As you scroll down that page you will see Heather's story, and some of her fears.  I am awed at people's resilience and Heather epitomises both that resilience and determination.  She is also using her experience to reach out to others.  Which of us doesn't have fears and or regrets we would like to smash into a million pieces?  A million tiny pieces, each too small to regenerate... 

My families asbestos experience means I am  more than happy to spread the word about the dangers of asbestos.  My brother and his wife have received confirmation and their house WILL be demolished.  We now know that no exposure to friable asbestos is safe.  Our local government has bitten the bullet and all the homes which were insulated by Mr Fluffy will be demolished and razed.  It is a precautionary measure and  residents are not being offered any choice.  A frightening and expensive upheaval for the affected individuals and the community, but necessary.   So very necessary.  Sadly for some of the residents of those homes it will be too late.  Mesothelioma (also known as asbestos cancer) is slow growing, and the exposure they have had in what they assumed was the safety of their own homes means they will develop asbestos cancer.  However the demolition of the affected homes is, like Heather's surgery,  necessary to try and contain/control/cure the damage.

Asbestos has been used in the home for a very very long time.  The cost of that usage is starting to emerge.
 Asbestos in the Home
Image courtesy of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
My information about the mesothelioma is patchy, but for those of you who want to know more there is plenty of useful information to be found here.  For Australian readers this is a useful link - and I was appalled to learn that we have one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world.

I hope that Heather continues to not only survive but thrive - and I love, and plan to adopt,  her initiative of identifying and formally smashing her fears.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Sunday Selections #209

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.

Like River I usually run with a theme.  I have often shown you the birds and the cats (real and ornamental) which decorate/clutter our home.  Today I am focusing on the fish.  Or some of them.  There is a large fish tank in the living room (and goodness it is a bugger to clean) and rather a lot of other fish around, both inside and out.

First the real fish.  Fortunately neither Jazz nor Jewel show any interest in them, though Jazz loves to warm his belly on the light on the top of the tank.


Then some of the other fish around the place.










And for Dana, a frog.


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Calvin and Hobbes

I fell in love with Calvin and Hobbes the first time I read one of Bill Watterson's stunning cartoons.  Over the years my love affair deepened.  I bought all of the books as they became available.  I still reread them and the smaller portion and I quote them at each other.

They are a joy on many levels and for many reasons.  The drawings are a delight.  In turn I have empathised with rebellious Calvin - and his poor put-upon parents.  He made his teacher's life hell.  Calvin loves nature and hates organised games - except Calvin Ball which has only one rule - that it cannot be played the same way twice.  And in Hobbes, he has the best friend anyone could ever ask for.  Someone to fight with and fight for.  Someone to have fun with, and a companion on the darkest days.  An alibi - and a scape goat.  Some of the cartoons are hilarious, others moving and/or thought provoking.

When Watterson stepped aside and retired the series in 1995 I grieved.  Twenty years on, my love affair with Calvin, and more particularly with Hobbes continues.

Watterson has always shunned publicity, and stayed out of the public eye when ever possible.  He gave his last interview to a journalist in 1989 and last spoke publicly in 1990.  Essentially he has out-done Greta Garbo. 


To me at any rate, the quirky charming characters are much more important than his personal life.  Just the same I wondered whether he had a Calvin in his life - or had perhaps been a Calvin.  So I was more than happy to be given his biography.


Except that when I started reading it I discovered that Nevil Martell, the author of the biography, had never met Watterson, never spoken to him - or even exchanged emails.  Not for lack of trying, but still...  And Watterson's family and friends respect his barriers and give only very limited information and interviews.

As a result, it is a biography with holes in it.  Information chasms.  I did learn that Calvin is entirely a feat of imagination.  There is no tear-away terror in Watterson's life who inspired Calvin's creation, and the man himself was a well behaved child rather than a rebellious non-achiever.

I also learnt that the absence of Calvin and Hobbes memorabilia and spin-off products is deliberate.  Watterson refused to licence products, and with the exception of a couple of calendars (which Watterson drew the images for) the books and the cartoons are all there is.  Which I respect, while hypocritically admitting that I would happily drink from a mug with either Calvin or Hobbes on it.

There was one element of the book which floored me though.  Martell seemed to think it was a big issue - and it had never occurred to me.  His question was:  Is Hobbes a tiger, or (his words) a doll?

Of course Hobbes is a tiger.  A ferocious tiger.  Some days an attack tiger, other days a big pussy cat.  Who happened to be Calvin's very best friend, loved tuna, comic books and couldn't be trusted not to draw moustaches on the super-heroes. 

Reluctantly I will also admit that Hobbes is also a stuffed toy.  I know which perception I prefer though.  I am very, very grateful that my mind is more flexible than my body and that it happily accepts two contradictory realities simultaneously.

I gather that Watterson has turned his considerable talents to painting.  I wish him well - and would love (when he is ready) to see some of his work.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sunday Selections #208

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.

Like River I usually run with a theme. This week it is the Orchard Swallowtail butterfly (I think) which captured my interest.  Jewel who considers herself a mighty hunter wanted it too.  Fortunately she was thwarted.  Again.








Ephemeral magic.