Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Friday, 24 January 2014

Excuses, excuses

Soon (we hope) the smaller portion will have yet more abdominal surgery.  This will be the seventh and might even be the last.  Hysterical laughter surfaces as I typed those hopeful words.  No dates yet, but we are thinking February/March.
His sister is coming down to help me.

The house and the garden are shambolic.  I look at them and shudder.  Repairs, restoration, decluttering and tidying are desperately needed.

There is some urgent paperwork which needs to come out of the 'I will get to it' pile.

My body and my mind are misbehaving.  When I can't avoid looking at them, they also make me shudder.  I am in the midst of a serious attack of the inadequacies. 

I could weep and whinge for Australia, and my psycho bitch is close enough to the surface to be able to lash out.  Which she does.

Which is a long-winded way of saying I am taking a break. 

I will miss you, and I will be back when house/garden/paperwork/body/mind are a bit more under control.  

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Feline Fun

This was one of the gifts which found its way into the smaller portion's Christmas stocking.

It came from National Geographic and is a pen, a torch, and a laser pointer.

He, and the cats have had a heap of fun with it.  The cats sit and look wistful until one or other of us turns it on and gives them a game.

In this short, and less than wonderful video it is Jazz playing.  For about the fifteenth time in a couple of hours.  He was remarkably lack-lustre to begin with, but did regain his spark.

It has another benefit too.  A few nights ago Jazz jumped Jewel.  She escaped.  Jazz HATES to be thwarted.  He started to approach me, singing, with his ears flattened.  Which, in the past has meant he will attack me.  And I will bleed.  This time, the skinny one distracted him with the laser pointer - and none of my blood was shed.

A present for the smaller portion, a present for the cats, and a present for me.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sunday Selections #155

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.

Like River, I generally run with a theme.  Our weather (finally) cooled down yesterday evening, after yet another day where it was tipping 40.  It is still hotter than I like (though all of summer is hotter than I like) but much, much better.  And I so hope that the bushfires are brought completely under control.

While sweltering, as well as Antarctica photos I drooled over these ones of the Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil.  I saw them after I went to Antarctica - and loved them.  Mind you, while it looks cool and refreshing there it wasn't.  The temperatures were high and the humidity hovered between 95 and 98 per cent.  Vile.

Just the same, they were beautiful.  And do look cool and refreshing.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

This is where my heart is this week...

Much of Australia is sweltering at the moment.  Heat records are being not smashed but melted. nuked, burnt.  Some of us can expect a cool(ish) change late tomorrow.  Here it will be late Saturday, or perhaps Sunday before we get any relief.

I am doing my very best to turn into a troll and only come out at night.  The garden is crispified.  I will see what can be salvaged when I can bear to go outside again.  Multiple Sclerosis LOVES heat and at the moment many of my symptoms have been exacerbated.  Or reared their ugly heads again.  Sigh.

Sad, soggy and grumpy.  But thankful that our temperatures are (a little) lower than those endured by people further west.  My thoughts and sympathies are with you.

No new photos, but a revisit to a place of ice and beauty.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday Selections #154

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.

Like River, I generally run with a theme.   I am returning to an on-going obsession this week.  Yes, birds.  Corellas.  Again.  I spend a LOT of time each day watching the birds.  And sweeping up after them too.
As always, click to embiggen.  I do love their eyeshadow.  They wear that colour better than most people.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

So much to learn...

I am a greedy reader and, as I have often said, biographies. autobiographies and memoirs are among my favourite reading.

However while I am greedy, I am also selective about which biographies I read.  Celebrities?  Not as a rule.  Sportspersons?  Ditto.

Writers, often.  Artists.  More women than men.  And travellers, particularly women travellers, capture my interest very rapidly.  If the travel takes place in a country/culture/time which is foreign to me, it is almost a done deal.

Over the years I have read a lot of travel memoirs and biographies of the travellers.    Among my Christmas hoarde this year was 'A Time in Arabia' by Doreen Ingrams.

I picked it up with eager anticipation, and was flummoxed in the introduction!!!

Doreen Ingram was compared (favourably) to Freya Stark, and Mabel Bent.  And my ignorance was exposed mercilessly.  I have several books by Freya Stark, and others about her.  And I had never heard of either Doreen Ingrams or Mabel Bent.

Doreen travelled to what was then South Arabia and is now known as Yemen with her husband, a civil servant, arriving in 1934.  She and her husband had taken the time and the trouble to learn Arabic before they went, and spend as much time as possible living within, not apart from the communities.  She worked both with her husband and independently promoting peace, education and women's rights.

And there is a lot of charm in her writing too.  How do you identify your cloak from all the other identical black and shapeless garments?  By the lingering smell of your own perfume...

And when she arrived she was childless.  'One of the Sherifas asked if I had any children of my own flesh and blood, and when I said no, she took my coffee cup, spat in it, and handed it back saying "I am a Sherifa, if you drink this you will have a child"'.  She did drink it, and did have a child - who travelled with her, with an abandoned child she adopted.

Having finished the book, I am now determined to find out more about her - and about Mabel Bent too.  So much to learn, so many books, so little time...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sunday Selections #153

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.

Like River, I generally run with a theme.  I am (at least in part thanks to the cats) an early riser.  I usually see dawn, and in winter I am up long before it.  Our dawns are often beautiful, but they are generally gentle in soft pinks and greys - galah colours.

Wednesday's dawn had nothing muted or subtle about it.  When the sky started to blaze I rushed outside to do my mad woman with camera dance.  It was just as well that most people were still on holidays.  I got most of these shots standing in the middle of the road.  I was in my dressing gown and I hadn't stopped to put shoes on either.  

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Clearing the Slate (a bit).

I have been a bad blogger of late.  I have been honoured with three awards.  I cherished them, and was really, really chuffed to receive them.  And haven't responded to them.

So, here I go.

The lovely Father Dragon bestowed not one but two awards.  The first was this one.

The SuperSweet Bloggers award.

Naturally it comes with conditions.  Some of which are easy, and some are beyond me.

Answer the following questions and Nominate Five Bloggers.
1. Cookies or Cake?   Some cake, rarely.  My sweet tooth is largely savoury..
2. Chocolate or Vanilla?   Either.  The real stuff in both cases..  And the chocolate has to be dark.
3. Favorite Sweet Treat?   Good chocolate - but I would pass it up for smoked almonds, good olives, and many cheeses.
4. When do you crave sweet things the most?   When they aren't available.
5. Sweet nickname?   None.

I am totally unable to choose bloggers to single out for this award.  I don't think it is laziness.  So many of you sweeten my world.  With laughter, with your life philosophy, with beauty.

So, as usual, I am NOT going to select anyone.  If you would like to play, please take this award and run with it.

I will show you the other award the lovely dragon gave me towards the end of this post.

The next award came from Carol in Cairns.  The Sunshine Award.  And sunshine is something that she sees a lot of, and shares generously.

Naturally, it too comes with conditions.  Some of which I can manage, some of which are (of course) beyond me.

The first is to share eleven things about myself.

I am very, very bad tempered and fight to keep it under control (mostly successfully).
I come from a maths/science oriented family and find both challenging.  My mother and my youngest brother used to fight about who did my physics homework.  I was happy to let them.
I was in my thirties before I realised that not having the maths/science gene didn't mean I was stupid.
I am an introvert.
In my next life I would like to be a cat - preferably one of my own to ensure that I am suitably indulged.
The smaller portion and I have been together for over thirty five years now - I would have got less than that if I had murdered him early.
And that is more than enough about someone who is really very ordinary and not interesting at all.

Then Carol poses eleven (naturally) questions to answer.

1.  What do you love about blogging?  The exposure to different people, from different places, and the richness they add to my world.

2. Who is the most interesting person you have met in real life and why?  I don't think there is a most interesting person.  I find people fascinating (though I don't always like them).  Quirky is always good. 

3. Who is your favourite author and can you recommend one thing I should read of theirs?  Too many to count.  Barbara Kingsolver is one of them - and Prodigal Summer is one of my favourite books of hers.  Tove Jansson - The Summer Book.

4. Newspapers, radio or Breakfast TV?  Newspaper.

5. What is your favourite cake?  Probably chocolate.  But very rarely.

6. One thing you would still like to learn?  So many things.  I would love another language.  There is so much about so many things I don't know.  Fortunately I am still learning.

7. What was your first job?  Other than baby sitting and house cleaning?  Selling women's underwear in a Department Store.  They loved me, and wanted me to have a career there.  I didn't.

8. One place you would like to visit again before you die?  Antarctica.  Hands down.

9. Can you speak a language other than English?  Other than grumpy, no.

10. The first album you bought with your own money?  Quadrophenia by The Who.  I think.

11. What is your favourite flower?  Too many to count.  Probably whatever isn't blooming at the moment.

Then we get into the conditions I baulk at.  Single out bloggers to pass the award on to, and create eleven questions for them to answer.

Nope.  Can't/won't do it.  Any one of you who wants to play is more than welcome to take the award , and hopefully follow the rules better than I do.

Which does make me feel guilty.  I probably shouldn't ever get another award.  And your presence here is award enough.

Back to the second award given to me by Father Dragon, the Golden Scale Award.

It came with these words.

'The Golden Scale Award is not for the things you did, but for the things you'll be doing to be happy on daily basis. It's for the courage you promise to show when facing adversity. The determination you promise to have when standing for your dreams and for what you believe in. It's the wisdom of knowing life is sometimes way too difficult but overcoming those difficulties is the only way to grow into a better person and to learn something. We face our fears to find ourselves and our own worth.
There is no wisdom without experience, and knowledge is empty without wisdom. Accepting this award means you are willing to work hard to start working miracles in your own life. I want to make clear I am not suggesting you stop believing on a High Power. I believe too. I am just inviting you to take responsibility of your life, like I did, and release all your true potential.'

Such a challenge.  I am not, unlike the Dragon, a believer.  However, if anything, this makes the award even more important.  An acceptance of responsibility.  Always.  Not an easy path, but one I believe it.  And I will try, and when I fail (as I will) I will try again.  Thank you so very much Father Dragon. 

Thank you Father Dragon, and thank you Carol.  I am very grateful - and apologise for both my tardiness and my inability to follow the rules.