Saturday, 22 August 2009

Becca's Soft Toy Cupboard

Hehe - we couldn't get far enough back to get a photo of the drift of soft toys on the floor!

Love Angel

I bought this for David. She is making the "Sign for Love". I wanted something special for him. To show how much I appreciate him, and how much I missed his company.

Thursday - going home day

Son, daughter, father! Scary
Mick, Sue, Bill

Mick came home just before midnight. Dad staggered onto his pile of pillows about 0200 - refused to sleep on Mick's bed - didn't want to disturb him. We picked him up bodily around 0300 and put him properly to bed.

Mick and I talked till 0430 in the morning. He's become an interesting man, my American brother. Not a kiwi any more. Staunch Republican. Hand on heart for the American anthem/flag. Anti-gun control. Doesn't like Australians at all. Doesn't like their lack of a work ethic, their attitude.

Says they don't like American's, and Barrie's going to hate being in Aus. Very down on it all. Sleep deprivation and alcohol talking, I hope. Mick is going back to California to help her pack up the house, and they'll both be down here for October.
Barrie has a job waiting for her here, but there's been a lot of politicking, and the Sydney UPS office doesn't want someone coming in from the US telling them what to do.

Bill was up and rattling around at 0700 - aarrgghh. It is so not fair, that after having drunk about half a bottle of gin, he doesn't have a hangover. I don't think he had any idea of the amount of noise he was making. Eventually staggered up about 0900. Had some breakfast, then took dad downstairs about 1000 - when the shops finally decide to open.

Took dad back to the shop I'd got a little resin angel for David from. He got a little resin statue of a boy holding a dog. Very cute.

Got back to the apartment to find Mick fuming - where had we gone. So we went back out for a late brunch. Yum. Mick had the Big All Day Breakfast, Dad a salmon omelette, and I had poached eggs on ham and toast.

Caught the bus at Southern Cross Station at around 1300, at the Airport by 1400. Got fed on the plane. Home again home again. tiddly pom.

So nice to be home. So nice to walk thru the arrivals gate, see the maori carvings, hear the native birds. Lovely to have a cuddle from David. Missed him so much.
So nice to sleep in my own bed, use my own, high-pressure shower.

I love going away, but coming home is nice.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Advertising on Melbourne's Yarra Trams!

The other ad shows this guy in seriously ugly whitey-tities. My first thought was - "burn, baby burn - save the world, burn a ...."

Oh Happy Day!

I spent today with Wendy. Happy songs running thru my head.

Grabbed a nice cappa at Southern Cross Station, and a beautiful bunch of bright orange gerbera's, and caught the train out to Craigieburn by myself.

Wendy and Turk picked me up at the station and we did some tripping round before going back to their place for lunch. Wendy and I had a fossick thru her wardrobe, and I've walked away with two pairs of jeans - thank you girlfriend! She and I spent some time out in the girl-shed, yakking, looking at the quilt stuff she's done, and just catching up. She says I'm much lighter and easier to be around - a noticeable change from February when we parted. All the emotional hard work is paying off!

She and Turk were caught at a police checkpoint on Monday, and told their car was unregistered, and had been since March, even after going thru about 5 different dealers before they purchased it. The cops took the rego plates, and they had to leave the car on the side of the road, till they'd organised a mechanic to come get it, do the "roadworthiness test", and tow it back to their place. Turk's dad was able to come and get them, but it meant that Wendy missed her job interview - but she gets to go back tomorrow, Thursday.

They were hit with a nearly $600 fine, which will be paid by the dealer.

Wendy and I took Mac for a run - us on bikes, him running, down to the local sports field, where dogs are allowed off-leash. We chased the crows and magpies, and watched the cops pulling over more unregistered vehicles, including one that tried to dodge them - bad idea! They have a van parked about a km down the road, which photographs the oncoming vehicle, relays the data to the Victorian Road Transport Authority, and fires it back if it's unregistered. The cops then pull the vehicle over! Wow, talk about efficient.

Then we went for a drive to the reservoir, which is evidently looking the best it has for a while, but looks pretty sad from my point of view. They're going to have severe water restrictions again this summer - level 4 at a minimum, so no washing cars or watering gardens, and 4 minute showers.

Then we went to a couple of Turkish shops. Both really only sold food, tho one had cookware, hookah pipes and musical instruments. No suitable knicknacks to bring home. Wendy says there's a third shop, where she might be able to get me a little set of worry/prayer beads, and a tiny Koran-in-a-baggy talisman. Then we went and picked up the kids from school, and they took me back to the train station.

No louts this time, thank goodness. But a couple of cops got on the train, and rode it for a couple of stops. Cops with guns - pistols in holsters. Scary for this kiwi girl! There is a noticably high Police presence in Melbourne - mostly cars cruising the beat, and checkpoints, but also popping up elsewhere.

I walked around the back of the Etihad Stadium, which used to be Batman's Hill, named after one of the founding settlers. The original city grid is laid out from this point, so the old city is a tiny, compact grid laid against the Yarra River on a north-east/south-west orientation. However, when the city expanded, they set up a new grid, running north-south, which makes working out which direction you're going very complicated. Me, I think it's kinda cool, and once you work it out, it's fine. Brother Mick's not so sanquine about it. LOL.

Got to Costco, and had to sit on the seats/concrete anti-ram-raid blocks, and have a wee melt-down. Damn, I want to go home. Really hard not having someone to share my day with. It's so tiring having to repeat myself over and over, and shout to be heard/understood.

Picked Father William up where he's been lurking at Costco all afternoon. It's still insane - they're at least 50 staff short, and they're quitting as quick as they hire them, even at $20/hour.

Dad has realised he hasn't got a pressie for mum. Said he'd seen a really nice set of drinking glasses at Costco. And they were really cheap too. What did I think?! NO! You wanna buy cheap glassware? Go to the Warehouse or Briscoes. You wanna get mum a pressie? Get something nice. Please. And no, there's no point in getting up early to get something, because the Docklands doesn't open till after 0900 - not even to get a damn coffee!

Talked to David, and Becca on the phone for half an hour. Better for that. Helped with the loneliness a bit.

Bill decided he wanted Szechuan for dinner, so we took off for Lygon Street again. I'm afraid my ability to eat organs, feet and other icky bits is non-existant. Settled on Gong Bao Chicken (hot hot chilli!), and Fragrant Fish Eggplant (allegedly hotter than the chicken, but didn't seem so). It was a heck of a lot better than I thought it would be. The eggplant was NOM! Chinese restaurant served beer, wine and fizzy. Two diet coke later ... Dad's order of the chicken dish arrived first, and he commented after about 5 minutes "you did order, didn't you?" "Ah, yes. Traditionally, you share the dishes, that's why we have the little plates, and the bowls of rice ... so when the eggplant arrives, we share that as well ..." Hmmm - am I being a smartarse again? He deliberately wanted to come to this particular restaurant, but doesn't know the customs ...

Had to walk a couple of blocks across the city to find a tram heading back down to the Docklands - #86! Oh yeah, baby, come to mama! Yes dad, this way... no, this is Russell Street, it becomes Lygon Street, remember? Oh well, we made it back.

So, Dad turns on the TV. Loudly! I need a drink. No dad, I don't drink beer (yuk - VB [Victoria Bitter!] I NEED VODKA! Grabbed book and glasses, and went back down the the Hotel, double VLL, and a piece of lemon curd pie - pie was average, VLL was aaarrrrooooo!

Nearly finished Clive Cussler's Treasure - what am I going to read on the plane tomorrow? Darn, I have so many books at home I want to read, but looks like I might have to buy something tomorrow.

Nearly 2300 - Mick was hoping to be home about now. I suspect there's two chances of that!

2315 - Not home yet.

2330 - nope.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Me! in Melbourne! In my new T-shirt

Not the best or most flattering of pictures. But I do like this T-shirt! "Music makes me lose control!"
Hoped to show the necklaces - I love the way the three of them sit. Simple heart at the top, then the double, more complicated hearts, then the goddess at the bottom. I'm going to try for a better, infocus, photo tomorrow.
Gonna go read once I've finished checking all my games - dad's watching some awful Aussie cop show now, and it's hard to concentrate.
Space Wolves, Strange Aeons, Shadows of Ballustrade and Reavers Deep, here I come! Goodnight folks.

A couple of hours in Pompei

PHOTOS: A Day In Pompeii: Small Altar, used in a household shrine for burning perfume and incense; Portable Stove, meat and fish would have been grilled over the coals in the flat base, and pots and pans arrayed on the semi-circular raised sections; Dinosaur Alley - looks better in real life!

Melbourne Museum: Fantastic exhibition! Very very cool. I took a few photos (oops, naughty me!). I think our camera is dying - almost all of them are out of focus. Great displays of finds from Pompeii, Herculaneum and a couple of other small towns. Coins, amphorae, balances, shrines, urns. And last, but certainly never least, the body casts. So sad. You could feel their terror and helplessness.

Aaarrrggh - Bill's playing with the remote for the TV, "Just finding out which channel goes where..." Uh huh. Can't concentrate. What am I writing about?

Oh, yes - the museum. Spent about an hour wandering thru. Bought the book, and a little pewter dog on the way out. Went and had a look at the Rainforest exhibition, the dinosaurs, bugs and human brain. Then it was 1700, and time to leave.

After talking to David and Becca for about 20 minutes, I walked back over to Lygon Street, where all the Italian restaurants are - found a nice, garlicy smelling one, and they offered me free garlic bread and wine - Yes! You'll do very nicely, thankyou.

Braised veal shanks, with the meat falling off the bone, with mashed potato, sauce and veg; followed by a berry and crepe dessert. Got a chocolate icecream as I walked back to LaTrobe St. There are no trams after 1700! Pox. So, at 1900, I started walking. Back down LaTrobe, right to the end, where I finally found a tram to take me the last kilometre.

I think I've walked about 6-8 k's today. Certainly walked dinner off. Nom Nom Nom.

It's really frustrating not being able to use my own laptop to work on. Never mind. Last day tomorrow, home on Thursday. Can I go home now?

Actually, today has been really good. Dad has admitted he couldn't have done any more walking today. Me, I could still go further if I had to. (Like, ooh, to get more Smirnoff Ice's!) I've really enjoyed walking thru the various parks and open spaces, at my own pace, going where I want to. The hardest part, as always, is having no-one to share this with. Never managed to get a photo of myself taken - have another go tomorrow.

Run away, run away ....

Slept like a log last night - being totally trashed helped! Woken by next door's dog at around 0300 - aaarrrrroooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! bark bark yelp. I think they must have gone out. Earplugs worked!

Woke up this morning at what I thought was 1000 - but was really 0800 - my mobile had gone back to nz time, lol! Mick and Bill both asleep (Bill on the floor in the lounge!). Got up, showered, dressed, left a note and ran away!!!!!

Grabbed a coffee, caught a tram, and went uptown. Eventually made my way to the University, and then up to the Cemetery. Caught a tram back downtown around 1100, I guess. Trams alternate between really really cool, and .... aaargh, oh heck, where are we going? Darn, ok, let’s walk back a couple of blocks . So the morning's trip was a little more exciting than it sounded.

The city is really quite beautiful - lots of lovely old buildings, some just facades, but at least they've kept them! Looks like there's some sort of fund that encourages developers to keep them as part of the building.

The university looks a lot like Auckland’s with a mix of old and new buildings. The cemetery is surrounded by a huge fence, so couldn't get in, but just walked around the outside.

The weather can't make up its mind - there are short periods of brilliant sunshine, take off the clothes.... followed by longer periods of cold wind, and cloud. There's an overcast settling down now, so I think it's going to get yuckier.

Came back to the apartment to find both male Cottle's still asleep, so went to the loo, and ran away again. Retail therapied! Found one of the two bookshops. No SF or decent history or anything else - it's an outlet of one of the big booksellers. Lots of craft, food, and WW2 stuff – the usual.

Have bought some clothes tho; two 2 t-shirts and 1 knitted top. Also bought a little silver heart necklace. So that's probably me shopped out. Bought groceries yesterday, too. Most of my spending money seems to have gone on boring stuff.

Bill's just woken up - 1230 - no-one's home in his brain.

Don't know if we're going to get to the museum. See what happens.

More later.


The Wheel at dusk; the view of the "Commons" from the apartment; Exhibition Hall at Carlton Park; Southern Cross Station, downtown Melbourne.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Heaven over Hell - Chinese Hexagram 666

Totalled. 4 x double vodka's, 1 x green lime/mint cocktail thingy. Totally Totalled. Smile on my face, finally.

Dinner at Harbour Town Hotel - 300g Porterhouse steak, medium rare, chips n salad. Sticky date n toffee dessert. NOM. Heaven. I feel blessed now. And totalled!

Makes up for the day. Ooooh, what a long day! Sitting here, snuffling, eyes barely open, grinning inanely, so very very tired.

Sunday finished at around midnight, having sat on the balcony, talking. Monday started 0400, with brother Mick unable to sleep, between stuffed body-clock and Father Bill thrashing and snoring; breakfast time. Woke back up at 0600 when Mick showered etc. Saw him off, gave him a hug goodbye.

Day restarted at 0830. Father William coming into my room asking if I was Ok, and did I want cereal and milk for breakfast. Ah - No! Back at 0850 - shouldn't I be getting up now? Ah - No!

Got up, showered, found semi-gluten-free meusli & soy milk for breakfast (thank goodness I'd bought the soymilk yesterday). Watched as Bill cleaned ashtrays out with dishbrush! No, that's the dishbrush Bill ...... then cleaned dishes with the dishbrush ...

Tram to town. Southern Cross Station. Walking at snail's pace. Would Father William believe my directions? Ah - no. This way, Bill, no, this ..... ok. Whatever. Got a soy cappa - that helped. Eventually found Real Estate Agent (and boot laces). 2 hours later, left real estate agents. Yes - 2 hours, waiting. Key? What key. Oh, well, no, that actually hasn't been cut yet - swipey - oh, Building Manager has that. You need to be back here by about 1500. Building manager before 1630.

Are we going to get to the museum to see the Pompei exhibit? Hmmm - let's see - it's nearly 1300 ... Yeah, right. No F'ing way.

Caught tram to Lygon Street - Little Italy. Walked, at snails pace (everywhere! aaargh) Restaurants - mostly Italian, some Mexican, 1 Kiwi, scattering of others. Regaled with tales of desperate restrauters dragging people off the street with offers of free BOTTLES of wine. Shortly after that, got accosted - free Glass of wine, amazing smells of garlic and roast lamb coming from the restaurant .... no, no, no - don't drag me away........ :(

Walked, at snails pace, along Lygon Street. Lunch at a lunchbar - fish n chips for me, an omelette for him! WTF!!!!!!! Sigh.

Made way back across town to the Carlton Gardens where the Museum is. At snails' pace. This way. No Bill. This way. F*)(&*&(&()&

Caught tram. Wrong tram. No Bill, not that tram ... ok, sure, we'll catch that Tram. Yes, you're right, it's going the wrong way.... yes, we have to walk two blocks back... at snails' pace. Time? 1520 ....

Collect key - abject BS apologies from real estate woman. Catch wrong tram. Wait for right tram. Time? 1600 - deadline for building manager? 1630 ....

Got key. Have swipey. Arrrooooo! We have access to apartment! OMG! Fantastic. Clean bathroom/shower/toilet and kitchen. Ewwwww - that's better.

Walk to Cosco - packed. Staff with brains hanging out, eyeballs on stalks. Cars and people queued up! "Biggest turnout for any store opening worldwide!"

More groceries - Dishbrush - Gluten free cereal, soymilk, fruit. VODKA - Smirnoff Black Ice - 6.5% alcohol by volume!!!! Went back to apartment and drank 2 - straight down! He's not hungry, doesn't want dinner, but won't let me go out on my own.

1900 go out to find dinner. Almost nothing open. Settle on the same place as last night. Oh no - Bill's forgotten his glasses! Bye! Don't hurry back.

2220 - totally trashed, feeling a happy girl - full of food and booze, ready for sleep and bed. (0020 nz time!) Done my post. Except the photo of the food, which the Blackberry won't release.

Goodnight all! Photo's to follow.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Melbourne in Winter

It's cold. It's wet. It's windy. 12 deg C, showers, 100 kmph wind gusts.
What's the difference between here and Auckland? Ummm ... not an awful lot.

The photo is of the [non-working] Wheel at night - the ultimate white elephant - worked for about 4 weeks, before a heat-wave distorted some of the metalwork. Now they have to take it apart and fix it. Only problem is, when they built it, it was in the middle of a swampy open paddock. Now, it's surrounded by a shopping mall.

The Costco VIP opening was pretty impressive - over 2500 people thru the door between 1600-1700. Food. So much FOOD! Lots and lots of lovely food. And that was just the stuff on the shelves! Lots of pretty, shiny toys. Lots of pretty shiny toys I'd like to buy. My brother is the Night Floor Manager - or something like that. Not nearly as high up the foodchain as my father made out, but still has a staff of 8 reporting to him in the deli section. OMG! The deli section - huge, pizza-sized brie and camembert, for about $30! Crayfish, salmon, meat, shellfish .... ooooh. Walk away walk away.

NZ won't get a Costco till they've opened up about 5 in Australia. Darn - we're stuck with Gilmour's.

Took a train ride out to Craigieburn to visit my friend Wendy - haven't seen each other since February - she came over just after the drought and the Black Saturday fires. Nice train-ride to the end of the line. She has a very nice house, with a "Man Shed" out the back, sewing area, husband's play area, where he can play his guitar till all hours, treatment room ...

So good to catch up and chat and gossip. Slightly hindered by the presence of father dearest - but a brief escape to the Shed helped. Scrummy pumpkin soup for lunch.

Overly exciting trip back - bunch of scruffy, white-trash kids had taken on some Indian boys. White boy got pummelled, and they brought their fight onto the train - looked for a bit as if they were going to trade blows, till some older Indian men got involved and seemed to break it up. When the Indian boys got off the train, the white boys hung out the door abusing them, and the Indian's tried to pull them out the door of the moving train. Can I go home now?!

Bill & Mick have gone off to steal a newspaper from the bar around the corner, and visit the money machine. Somehow it's my fault that Bill hasn't had a chance to get any cash out, because I'm always in a hurry to catch a train or something. Counting. Slowly. To 10.

I will be so glad when his hearing aid arrives from the States. Then we'll find out if his hearing is the only problem.

More tomorrow night.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Ooooh - that's nice!

Well, here it is. What do you think? I like my new hair colour! Continuing technical problems meant that taking photo's got increasingly challenging.

It's now late Sunday afternoon, and we're round at a friends' house to celebrate Imbolc. Finally, one of the other couples that were meant to be here around 1200, have arrived. We have to go in about another 2 hours, as it's a school night, and Becca is home alone with her brother.

Just made apple crumble, got a couple of hot chickens and vogels bread from the supermarket. We're going to have an early supper, maybe perform a ritual to celebrate the festival.

Happy happy happy!

Captain's log - Update: David went home and got Becca. By the time they returned, someone else had turned up, so we stuffed ourselves silly with roast chicken, beef stew, fresh vogels bread and salad, then had South African Milk tart, Apple crumble and lewd conversation for dessert.

And, not only that - we did some ritual!!!!! Nice to do group rituals! So we decided to create a new seed group, and call ourselves BODS - "Bunch of Druids" - so we can get together more often, to do rituals, study and craftwork together, without politics.

What a busy weekend it turned into: Saturday morning was Stoating, finding 3 rats and 1 thing with spines, which once may have been a hedgehog (but can't be sure, because the traps obviously haven't been cleared on the last two weekends by the other "volunteers"); getting soaked to the skin in the rain; followed by "afternoon tea" with friends, and not getting home till nearly 1900; then a quick visit to the parents this morning that lasted about 3 hours, and included almost freezing to death; and this afternoon stretched into the evening.

And yes, you're right - I should update my blog more often - but that presupposes I've actually done anything.

Well, spring has sprung, creative (among other) juices are starting to flow, and brain and fingers are getting itchy - must be time to make something!

Maybe I should write something about the roleplaying games I'm in! My friend Caroline was sitting on the floor, carving lines into a large stick, commenting how weird it was me playing guys in on-line roleplaying games! Oh pot, calling kettle black.

hugs to all

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Ming the Merciless Plots to take over the Planet

Subheading: The day I had my hair streaked/low-lighted!
In a moment of madness, I decided to change my hair colour - which had nothing to do with a wee girly at KFC asking if I was Becca's grandmother. Grrr!

No, I am not her grandmother. Yes, my hair is silver (much more preferable to GREY!). It started going grey at about 28, and I have dyed it for YEARS! Then about 5 years ago I became increasingly sensitive to the "home" hair-dyes - itchy scratchy! So, made the decision to go grey gracefully (well, as gracefully as I do anything).

I didn't want to completely change colour, but to lift the grey (7G + 7N - dark golden blonde and something else), and, being me, took photo's of the process. This was just too funny not to record for posterity.

Tomorrow, the finished result - which, to my surprise (and relief), I'm actually very happy with. (Technical problems include out of focus, squinty eyes, and aaargh, do I really look like that!)